The pavilion at Prosper’s Frontier Park came alive last Saturday morning as more than 40 volunteers assisted the families of Cornerstone Assistance Network of North Central Texas with a fun carnival combined with back-to-school shopping. There was elaborate face and body painting, cotton candy, rock climbing and rolling around inside huge inflated balls. There was also food on hand provided by Texas Roadhouse of Prosper, soon to be open in Gates of Prosper on U.S. Highway 380 and State Highway 289.
But the biggest thing that happened that morning was that 250 youngsters left with new backpacks, shoes, school supplies, spirit wear and three outfits for back to school.
Courtney Chamblee, Director of Programming for Cornerstone, said this year they are able to work with 250 children, an increase of 100 from last year’s event. Cornerstone employees started organizing the event in May to be able to achieve the detailed coordination for students. Chamblee said they work with a list of students on the school district’s free and reduced lunch program and include any of the families Cornerstone has worked with through the last year and those are the children served in the back-to-school festival.
But attention to detail doesn’t stop there. When the kids came to the pavilion Saturday morning, they received shoes that had been purchase specifically for them in colors of preference when possible. Their backpacks and other clothes were already selected and matched to each child.
Chamblee said that during the preparation time, parents have filled out the necessary paperwork providing the correct information for each child including their favorite colors, likes and dislikes. This enables volunteers to match items for each child.
Chris and Gina Kern were in the volunteer force Saturday along with their three children Elizabeth, 16, Ethan, 13, and Caroline, 10. They said they were serving as runners which means, after the family checks in, the Kerns gathered the backpacks, shoes and school supplies that were already prepared for the children in that family. Gina Kern said she encourages everyone to volunteer with the Cornerstone events. She said she loves to see the children’s faces light up when they see the things given to them. “It makes this day really fun,” she said.
The Cornerstone group shared the following note on its Facebook page after Saturday’s festival:
“I would first like to say thank you for the blessings that Cornerstone has bestowed upon my family. The assistance with weekly lunch food was so tremendously helpful and my boys really enjoyed “shopping” each Tuesday night. Additionally, for them to be able to “shop” for some school clothes this past Tuesday was amazing. They had so much fun picking out what they liked and then showing it to me and their mom. Their smiles will forever be in our memories.
Lastly, we picked up their school supplies at the carnival today at Frontier Park and all I can say is WOW! From the moment we walked up and received such a warm greeting to the backpacks, shoes, spirit wear, food and games I was humbled. Please let all of those that volunteered know that their efforts were not unnoticed and were appreciated more than I can express.”
A note from the Cornerstone staff said, “We love to receive little notes like this. We are so grateful to be able to serve our neighbors! Thank you to every donor and volunteer that has partnered with Cornerstone. You allow us to continue doing what we do.”
“Cornerstone is always ready to take donations,” Chamblee said. “We will be starting on the Christmas event soon and there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved.”
-Joyce Godwin | Joyce@CedarbrookMedia.com