Project Big Love launches its first communitywide outreach

August 03, 2013|By ROXANN MILLER |
  • Kristy Livengood of Waynesboro, Pa., a volunteer with Project Big Love, fits Kadeem Hatcher of Waynesboro with a new pair of sneakers Saturday at the outreach event at the Mont Alto (Pa.) Carnival Grounds.
By Roxann Miller

MONT ALTO, Pa. — People started lining up Saturday at 4:45 a.m. at the Mont Alto Carnival Grounds, but it wasn’t for a chance to win tickets to the Super Bowl or see a sold-out concert.

By 9 a.m., a line of more than 2,000 people wrapped around the carnival grounds waiting for Project Big Love to make good on its promise of a new pair of sneakers and school supplies for Franklin County children.

Project Big Love, started by Waynesboro, Pa., businessman Shon Duty and his wife, Tammy, of the nonprofit Kaimon’s Call, launched its first communitywide outreach Saturday.

The free event was supported by 25 area churches and nearly 500 volunteers.

Clorissa Barges of Chambersburg, Pa., arrived at 6:30 a.m. with her three children, Molly, Dakota and Trenton.

Barges didn’t mind waiting in line two hours if it meant her children would have new shoes on the first day of school.

“This is great. I like it,” she said of the outreach. “I really appreciate this a lot.”

Buying backpacks, school supplies and sneakers for three children would have cost her about $500, she said.

“It’s important to have new sneakers or you get bullied,” Molly said.

Duty said Project Big Love’s goal of giving 1,500 backpacks filled with school supplies and 1,500 new, brand-name sneakers to Franklin County children was achieved hours earlier than expected.

“There are people driving nice cars, living in nice homes that have a need,” Duty said after walking the packed field surrounding the carnival grounds. “There’s a huge need in Franklin County.”

Denise Bonura, media coordinator for Project Big Love, was shocked by the number of people waiting in line hours before the event opened at 9 a.m.

“When I saw how many people were standing in line, I was amazed at how many people came out,” Bonura said. “It tells me the need is probably much greater than any of us even realized.”

In addition to the backpacks and sneakers, visitors were given bags of free groceries, haircuts, family photos, lunch and more.

Rae Ann Yates of Waynesboro brought her 8-year-old daughter, Emily, to try on a pair of new sneakers for school.

“They are doing a wonderful thing,” Yates said. “It’s truly a blessing for them to be here.”

Emily is going into third grade at Mowrey Elementary School, and thanks to Project Big Love, she has a snazzy pair of purple sneakers to show off.

“I like them,” Emily said. “And I like the color.”

“There are a lot of people in need right now, and I know with me and my husband not working right now, it makes it hard,” Yates said.

Duty, who said the idea behind the event was to show Christ’s love through a Christian outreach, said he was “overwhelmed.”

“It’s awesome,” he said. “This goes above and beyond anything I could have imagined it would be.”

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