LEBANON, Mo.—Good grades are easier to achieve if you feel well and have the tools you need. That’s why it’s time for the Lebanon community to once again support this year’s Crayon Crusade.
Now in its ninth year, the program is expanding with a Back-to-School Fair that will include everything from haircuts to health screenings. Mercy Hospital Lebanon is partnering with Lebanon Family Church for the event. “Our role is to help our community live healthier lives,” says Mike Gillen, president of Mercy Hospital Lebanon. “So, it made sense that we would make sure kids are healthy before school starts. A child can’t read if they can’t see the letters, and they can’t follow instruction if they can’t clearly hear the teacher’s words. We want to provide kids with things like eye exams, immunizations, scoliosis checks, and assess their overall health. If we can send them back to school as healthy as possible, they will start the year right.”
“Sometimes we don’t realize how special a child feels when they arrive on the first day of school having everything they need and with a fresh haircut,” says Kim Bailey, outreach coordinator with Lebanon Family Church. “Planting that seed that there are still people who care and want to help brings amazing hope. We want to spread the word that Jesus is real and so is his love for all mankind. We’re giving the gift of not just school supplies, but love.”
More than 300 area businesses will once again serve as collection sites for school supplies. They will get their collection bins at a kickoff breakfast on Thursday, July 12 at 7:45 a.m. Then, it’s up to the community to fill those with everything kids will need by Tuesday, August 7, when businesses will take the supplies to Lebanon Family Church. The schools will distribute the supplies to students, either on the first day of classes or as they’re needed through the year.
The Back-to-School Fair is scheduled for Saturday, August 11 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Lebanon Family Church. It’s located at 1450 Tower Road. Everyone is welcome, regardless of income. The idea is to get kids excited about the new school year. “This is always such a fun time of year for us,” says Gillen. “It’s just a great way to invest in the health and happiness of our community.”