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Pleasant Hill church has kids’ backs — and their backpacks for school

Members of the First Baptist Church of Pleasant Hill handed out 72 backpacks to kids at the Calhoun public pool on Thursday. Pictured from left to right are the Rev. Don Hannel, Charlotte Churchman, Cecelia Moser, David Moser and Gus Moser. (Cynthia Haggitt/Calhoun News-Herald)

By Cynthia Haggitt

The Rev. Don Hannel and his First Baptist Church of Pleasant Hill (FBCPH) have taken some of the burden off of some school children’s backs — literally.

Hannel and his Bible study group came up with a way to serve the community by helping families transition back to school with some backpacks and other supplies.

“We recently started doing some mission work here in Hardin because we have people who come to our church,” Hannel said. “Bill and Kelly Sievers, Lori Smith and several different people got together and decided to start a Bible study down here.”

Hannel recently started holding meetings at the Sievers home for a Bible study group and ran across an email about an annual event known as “Send Relief Backpack Day.”

“ We were meeting at Kelly’s house on Wednesday nights at 6 p.m,” Hannel said. “The program is from the All of the North American Mission Board, which is part of the Southern Baptist organization.  The email said you could get up to three bundles or 72 backpacks completely free of charge.”

Hannel felt the best way to distribute the goodies would be to sponsor a free swim at the pool, like some other churches have been doing. FBCPH originally planned to host the event on Saturday, but changed it after learning of the Kampsville Celebration.

“We figured most everyone was going to be at the celebration in Kampsville, so we decided to change it,” he said. “The cool thing, though, is that here on our backpacks is a key chain that was made by one of our ladies in our church. On the keychain, it says, ‘Jesus has your back,’ and it shows Jesus having Satan in a headlock.”

As Hannel handed out backpacks, he talked to the kids about how during school days they might face problems or have bad days.

“Someone might pick on you or bully you, but remember that Jesus always has your back,” he said. “It was a way to help kids, encourage them, and help kids get back to school.”

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