Deana Peterson, right, has been involved in the uniform distribution project since its beginning and housed the first year’s clothing in the loft at her house. With her is Patti Proper.
It takes five-ten volunteers to distribute this much uniform clothing.
Patti Proper and Valerie Kocher.
By Kelly Scott
Oakland Baptist Church, Rock Hill
In our school district, uniforms are required for all students in the middle schools—collared shirt and specific color short, pant or skirt.
The project to provide uniforms to those who couldn’t afford to buy the required clothing began several years ago under the leadership of the ESL Sunday School Class. Members of that class had friends who had children in middle school who didn’t have the money to buy the uniforms. So the class spent that first summer collecting clothing items and storing them in Deana Peterson’s loft.
In August that year, the class gathered at Deana’s house to sort items and move them to the ministry center. They set up distribution in a back storage room. It was hot and crowded and we served more than 200 students in two days.
The next year we partnered with the Rock Hill Schools and took our clothing items to what is now the Alternative Programs building. The school district provided school supplies and we provided the clothing items. It was a great way to help families all in one place.
When the school district discontinued their program, we moved back to the ministry center. It was very crowded and parking was difficult. Lynn Flager took the lead for the program in 2019. For that distribution and in 2021 the program moved to the Oakland Baptist fellowship hall. This allowed for space for clothing, fitting rooms and plenty of parking.
The program has provided uniforms for the five Rock Hill middle schools, and two elementary schools that require uniforms. The program provides two shirts and two pairs of shorts or slacks for between 200 and 250 students each year.
Collection now is community-wide during the summer. Items are stored at church and ministry center until sorting. After the weekend distribution event, we continue to take individual orders and fulfill those during school year through contact with guidance counselors and resource staff in the district.
This most recent distribution was lower numbers, but those that attended were truly thankful for the help!