CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – It’s a yearly tradition now at Fisher’s of Men.
As the school season approaches, the church gives away backpacks, school supplies, hot dogs and even haircuts to anyone who needs them.
On Saturday, the ministry and food pantry hosted their sixth annual backpack giveaway.
“Sometimes we even have college kids that come and we won’t turn them away I mean if there’s a need and you’re trying to further your education we want to do everything we can to help you,” said Fishers of Men Pastor Tiffany Brashear.
Brashear says it’s their way of setting up the kids for success in the upcoming, very uncertain school year.
“They get clothing vouchers but that don’t buy backpacks and school supplies, that don’t pay for haircuts,” she said.
This year, the giveaway looked a little different, with the usual snow-cone machine and other organizations absent from the parking lot.
There were also fewer people.
“With the COVID-19 epidemic, you know numbers have went down, offerings went down so it’s been a struggle,” Brashear said.
Those who were there said they were thankful.
“This is our second year coming, my children always love whatever they get in their backpacks, it’s always full of surprises,” said one woman whose granddaughter received the first hair cut from a volunteer beautician who came down from Huntington for the event.
“It sure helps in these economic times, I’ve been raising my grandson now for seven years and every little bit helps,” said another woman who said she heard about the backpack giveaway at another food pantry.
The church was gifted to Brashear by the Fisher family nine years ago.
“It was built in the early 1900s, the church was boarded up, windows had been busted out, the ceiling was falling in, there was no plumbing,” she said.
Brashear named it after the Fisher family and refurbished it.
Since then it’s become a busy food pantry, feeding 1,000 people a month as well as 50 seniors.
Brashear says her next goal is to become a federally recognized tax-exempt non-profit to be able to do even more for the community and apply for grants to improve their space which she says they’ve outgrown.
The ministry is trying to raise $10,000 and they say they’re always in need of volunteers.
Fishers of Men can be contacted at 304-946-7292.