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Generosity seeds brighter future

The peak season for apples may not begin until September in many parts of the country, but a lot of generous folks have already helped one local agency celebrate a bumper crop.

An official with Interfaith Ministries of Denton said the nonprofit agency has met its Apple Tree Project donation goal, which will allow distribution of backpacks, school supplies, clothing and shoes to 1,500 needy schoolchildren in Denton next month.

If you’re not familiar with the Apple Tree Project, it’s a program designed to help low-income families who have children attending school in the Denton school district. Parents register their children, and each child is then represented as an “apple” that people can pick out and sponsor by donating clothing in that child’s size.

Backpacks, school supplies and other items are purchased for the children with monetary donations received by Interfaith Ministries.

Local businesses, churches and other locations serve as host sites for the Apple Tree Project, which has provided school supplies and other necessities for low-income children since 1996.

The annual campaign is set to coincide with an important event in the life of area families — the start of a new school year.

The effort aims to outfit low-income children with everything they need to start school on equal footing with other students.

Those of us who have experienced back-to-school season know it can be a hectic and expensive time for parents and a stressful time for children.

But for families that lack the resources to buy what they need, the approach of school can be a frightening and heart-breaking time. No child should have to worry about starting school without the proper clothing and supplies, and the Apple Tree Project is designed to help all children be prepared for the big day and help relieve their worries.

“It’s really awesome,” said Lehia Hill, outreach and development associate for Interfaith Ministries. “I’m excited to be able to help them start their school year off on a level playing field.”

Hill said donations are accepted throughout the year and monetary and gift card contributions for clothing and shoes are always needed. For more information about the program, call 940-565-5479.

This year, Interfaith Ministries of Denton will have its annual distribution event Aug. 9, and families who have already registered and been approved for the program will receive back-to-school essentials.

The program helps a lot of young people. Sharon Cox, a spokeswoman for the Denton school district, said that 11,399 of the 26,200 children enrolled in school the last week of the 2013-14 year were offered free or reduced-cost lunches — an indicator of how many low-income families reside in Denton ISD.

We’d like to thank all who helped with this year’s campaign. Every child deserves a chance to succeed, and thanks to your generous donations, a lot of deserving students will be starting off the new school year on the right foot and be better equipped to achieve success.

Who knows? Some of the children you helped may be the ones we’ve been waiting for — those who will solve the problems that plague our society and find cures for destructive diseases.

Your generous support of the Apple Tree Project could continue to bear fruit well into the future.