Once again Shekinah Glory Cathedral went above and beyond with a back-to-school bash that tied giveaways with fun activities for the local community.
Shekinah Glory Cathedral threw one major back-to-school bash Saturday morning as it partnered with the community to ensure local residents were ready to enter the new school year.
Merely one year ago, the church set up shop in Snowden Park to host the same event as it had not yet found a building to call home. It was the church’s welcome party to the community. In approximately 365 days, it carried that jovial spirit to an entirely new level.
The community showed up in droves to show their support. Members of Suncoast Credit Union, Hispanic Services Council, HCC and several others all brought their boundless energy and an in-depth list of resources to the event.
“We’re just having a great time,” Crespo said. “The sponsors come and volunteer their time and resources and our volunteers have been working so hard to make this a successful event. We’re trying to get the youth excited about knowing who they are and being responsible as they enter the new school year.”
You could hear the boom of welcoming music and a peal of young laughter from the parking lot. The doors to the fellowship hall were thrown open and a party was just getting started inside. Associate Pastor Sidney Crespo stood in the center of a massive crowd, microphone raised and a smile on his lips, as he held a basket filled with goodies above his head. A name was drawn and the basket was placed in the hands of a lucky winner. Mere moments later, another item was shoved into Crespo’s hands and he turned to the crowd once more to share some information of the next generous benefactor. He pointed to their booth from across the room. Another name was called but the winner had already gone home. Then they called another. Then another. Then one more. Finally, a winner that had stuck around was selected and the gift was handed over.
This process repeated for many minutes. It was one of several waves of giveaways the church did all day in honor of the big event.
The room was packed to near-capacity and an endless stream of newcomers flowed in. Shekinah gave out free hot food and opened up its food pantry to any attendee in need. At one end of the fellowship hall was an L-shaped set of tables piled high with jeans, blouses, shoes, purses and more. If you wanted to get a new outfit — or a bag full — you were given free rein.
While families mingled at the tables, groups of children flocked outside to enjoy the colorful bounce house behind the church. Down the hall, the children’s classroom was converted into a book-bag haven. By noon, the church had already given out 200 bags filled with new school supplies for the local youth.
Metropolitan Ministries partners with the church every year to help purchase many of the book bags and the church spends hours giving them out to anyone in need.
It’s just one of many events the church holds throughout the year to embrace its community and Crespo said as long as they’re aware of a need, Shekinah Glory will work tirelessly to lend a helping hand.