Equipped by Faith donates 100 bookbags to Troup County students

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, August 8, 2023

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By: Olivia Johnson

On Thursday, Raquel Neal and Faith Baptist Church donated 100 bookbags filled with school supplies to the Troup County School System.

The donation is part of the Equipped by Faith Bookbag Project, which Neal started in 2009.

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“I have always had a heart for children at back-to-school time. Being the daughter of a single mom, as a child I knew the concern that came with going back to school and not being sure if you were going to be able to have everything you needed to start the year off,” Neal said.

“I saw a need in Troup County for this and decided to reach out to my pastor and asked if the church would come alongside me and support the ministry for back-to-school supplies and bookbags and, of course, they said yes. I started it in 2009, and we have been donating books and school supplies to the Troup County School System ever since.”

Over the years, Neal estimates they have given away 1,500 bookbags.

“Every summer knowing that I am going to be able to take care of this program and make sure these kids have some supplies feels amazing. We can’t do everything for everybody, but we can do what we can for somebody, and it matters to that person,” Neal said. “Everybody has something to give and just knowing that I’m able to do this really makes my heart just so happy every year. It’s humbling to me to be able to know that I’m able to help somebody.”

Neal said for as long she’s able, she plans to continue to give back during back-to-school season.

“I will always make sure I’m involved with back-to-school supplies for the children. Growing up, I know what it feels like to worry when you go to school if you’re going to have the pencils, paper, or things you need to start the year off right,” Neal said. “In doing this, I want to take that burden away and help send kids to school happy and ready to learn.”

She said takes her time to put love and care into each backpack.

“The number one motivation in life is being the hands and feet of Jesus to the world, no matter what that looks like. I pray over every single backpack and every single supply before I put it in the book bags and also include information in there about Jesus. My primary objective in providing a physical need is to always point people to Jesus so we can supply spiritual need as well,” Neal said.

Neal said they begin the fundraiser every year around the end of May and collect supplies and bookbags through about the second week of July.

For more information or to donate to the Equipped by Faith Bookbag Project, contact Neal at 706-594-9936 or by email at Raquelneal@yahoo.com.