Back to School Blast on Aug. 8 a drive-through event with fresh produce

Back to School Blast at Elevate Church

Elevate Church is hosting another Saturday of giveaways on Aug. 8 from 9-11 a.m. In addition to handing out boxes of produce, families also can get backpacks filled with school supplies during the annual Back to School Blast. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

Fresh produce and backpacks stuffed with school supplies are free Saturday, Aug. 8, at Elevate Church.

The Marble Falls church, 700 Gateway Parkway, is giving away about 1,200 boxes of produce courtesy of the Farmers to Families Food Box program. The church is also the site for the annual Back to School Blast, which will hand out 800 backpacks full of school supplies to people driving through.

Both giveaways are 9-11 a.m. Saturday.

Elevate Church Senior Pastor Shane Wenger said volunteers know what it means to recipients of the food and supplies.

“A lady told us that the box of produce she receives feeds her for the week,” he said. “It’s inspiring to others to want to be generous. I’d love to be known, not for our Sundays, but for what we do every day. Our best is you find that need and meet that need.”

The Farmers to Families Food Box program is through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is spending almost $3 billion on the project, purchasing food and dispersing it via national, regional, and local distributors. The program helps farmers by purchasing food from them that might otherwise go to waste due to a drop in regular purchases amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Distributors are able to keep employees, and local families benefit from free, fresh food.

Elevate Church has teamed up with produce distributor DiMare Fresh, which is sending a refrigerated truck stacked with 1,200 boxes of produce to the Saturday event. Families also will receive bags filled with hand sanitizer, wipes, razors, shaving cream, shampoo, conditioner, soap, and the like. 

Back to School Blast organizers had to scale back this year’s event to COVID-19. They partnered with Elevate Church to hand out school supplies during the Farmers to Families giveaway. The Highland Lakes Crisis Network and CASA for the Highland Lakes Area is also handing out backpacks.

Any remaining backpacks will be delivered to the Marble Falls Independent School District to give to students who need them. 

On Saturday, volunteers will set up three lanes to accommodate 12 vehicles at a time. Drivers can pop open their trunks or unlock their back doors, and volunteers will load the boxes. 

There are no pre-qualifications for any of the giveaways, Wenger said. 

“No questions asked,” he said. “People can also pick up for people in need for them. People aren’t a project. Our goal is to love people right where they’re at. During a pandemic, now is the best time for the church to shine and pray with them to help meet the needs of people. That’s the best time to help is when people are in need.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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