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Oklahoma City-area churches plan back-to-school activities, giveaways

By Carla Hinton Published: July 31, 2010
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Family of Faith Church is built on a hill in Choctaw that is a prime spot for sliding.

The Rev. Pat Franks, the church's associate pastor, said she envisioned lots of children gliding down a giant, water-covered plastic sheet on hot, summer days.

She said the church will combine the watery fun from such sliding with the practical during its annual Slip 'n' Slide back-to-school event Aug. 7. Volunteers will give away hundreds of backpacks filled with school supplies amid all the excitement.

"We had anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 people show up to play in the water last year," Franks said. "I call it 'controlled chaos.'"

The Choctaw church, 13500 SE 15, is one of numerous metro-area congregations holding back-to-school gatherings that meet students' needs for school supplies and their hankering for fun. Other churches hosting back-to-school giveaways include Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, Alameda Church of Christ in Norman, Chapel Hill United Methodist, Faith Church, Wildewood Christian Church and Mount Olive Baptist Church in Oklahoma City and Bethel Church in Choctaw.

Franks said Family of Faith's bash has grown over the years. She said the church with about 125 members gave away about 70 backpacks during its first Slip 'n' Slide event; last year about 440 children received backpacks and school supplies.

Franks said in addition to the wet and wild fun and school supply giveaway, the church will distribute free hot dogs and soft drinks and conduct a blood drive. Representatives from the police department and Students Against Drugs and Alcohol will provide safety information.

Meanwhile, Chapel Hill United Methodist Church is holding its first Children's Back-to-School Health Fair today at 2717 W Hefner.

Robin Dickerson, the church's director of pastoral care and older adults, said she came up with the idea for the fair, and other leaders in the church quickly embraced it. She said the church offers Whiz Kids tutoring during the school year and a Project Transformation summer program, so she thought the health fair would be a great way to expand the church's outreach to students.

Emphasis will be placed on healthy lifestyles. For instance, a presentation on creating healthy snacks will be featured, and EMSA representatives will give a basic first-aid presentation. Dickerson said health screenings also will be offered. Free vaccinations will be given, and the first 200 youths will receive free backpacks and school supplies.

Other activities for children include the Skeeter Hall Puppet Show, Chester the Clown, Zumba dance exercise and face painting.

"Can't do all that without having a little fun," Dickerson said, laughing.

In Norman, Alameda Church of Christ's Streams of Water Ministry is gearing up for its sixth annual Back to School Round-up and Information Fair on Aug. 7.

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Back-to-school

The following faith-based, back-to-school activities are planned in the Oklahoma City metro area. Events are free unless otherwise noted:

Children's Back-to-School Health Fair, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, 2717 W Hefner. 751-0755; www.mychapelhill.org.

Slip 'n' Slide, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 7, Family of Faith Church, 13500 SE 15, Choctaw. 769-8751; www.familyoffaithok.com.

Wildewood Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Back-to-School Skating Party, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 7, Century Skateland, 300 Bizzell Ave., Midwest City. Cost is $5 per person. 478-0781.

Back-to-School Round-up and Information Fair, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 7, Streams of Water Ministry at Alameda Church of Christ, 801 E Alameda, Norman. 321-0788; www.alameda- streams.org.

Back to School Backpack Give-Away, 9:30 a.m. to noon Aug. 7, Bethel Church, 3254 N Choctaw Road, Choctaw. 390-2390; www.bethelchristiancenter.org.

School Supply Give-Away, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 11, Henderson Hills Baptist Church, 1200 E Interstate 35 Frontage Road, Edmond. Bring proof of Edmond residency or a report card or document showing attendance at an Edmond Public School District school. 341-4639; www.WeNeedSchoolSupplies.com.

Community Back-to-School Bash, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 14, Wildewood Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 6900 N Kelley. 478-0781.

Trinity Church Impact Team's Back-to-School event, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 14, Central Elementary School, 300 S Ninth, Yukon. Offered to Yukon-area students. 354-4839.

Back-to-School Festival, 9 to 11 a.m. Aug. 14, Mount Olive Baptist Church, 1020 N Kelley. 424-2186.

Feeding 5,000 and More, Aug. 21, OKC Faith Church, 800 S Portland. 948-7100; www.okcfaith.com.

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