Among the dozens of backpacks given away to children last week, only one was purple, and almost everyone wanted it.
So they drew names and Jordan Skinner, a sixth-grader at Havelock Middle School, was fortunate enough to get it.
"It’s stylish," Skinner said as he picked through the various back-to-school supplies inside. "This is great. Better than chicken nuggets."
Skinner’s bag was among more than 150 backpacks given away during the last couple of weeks at Cherry Point United Methodist Church.
"It is honestly the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done," said organizer Kim Rice Smith, a church member and member of the Craven County Board of Education. "I look forward to it every Wednesday. I think people forget how much need there is in our community."
The give-a-ways took place as the church, with help from First United Methodist Church, fed children free lunches. The summer program is designed to give children who would normally eat school lunches a free, nutritious option while off school for the summer.
About 120 of the backpacks were donated by Dr. Russell Davis, a Havelock chiropractor.
"The book bags are great. They even have them for teachers," said Dan Ruffner, a seventh-grade math teacher at Havelock Middle School.
The bags were filled with school supplies such as markers, pencils, pens, paper, notebooks and other things students need for the start of the school year on Aug. 26.
Mark Woods, pastor of Cherry Point Methodist, said money from the Bate Foundation and church donations paid for the backpacks and school supplies.
"We try to do what we can to support the community. We’ll do anything to help out," he said.
The church is located next to Havelock Middle School.
"They have been the most supportive of the school across the street," Havelock Middle Principal Tabari Wallace said. "This is huge. They are our true pillars of the community and it’s hard to give in times like they are. That Wednesday lunch thing is a Godsend this year."
The church parishioners donated hundreds of books for children to take home and read. Children surrounded the book table, stuffing their backpacks full of the books.
"This is the area that works together. There are no personalities. Everyone helps," Wallace said. "We just come together to do it as a family. I think that’s what separates us from other communities."