Church community supplies students with classroom items

Aug 1, 2021

As UMass Dartmouth students prepare to return to school, the community at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is working to ensure everyone has the supplies they need.

The church is coordinating a school supply drive for Arnie's Cupboard, the food pantry at UMass Dartmouth, which serves students, faculty and staff and their families.

Food is not the only need students have, said Barbara Bosworth, the director of parish outreach ministry at the church, who is overseeing the effort.

Arnie’s Cupboard receives regular deliveries from the Boston Food Bank, Bosworth said, which helps keep the shelves stocked with nutritious food.

But when church representatives reached out to cupboard organizers, they learned that food is not the only challenge for some students. They also struggle to afford items such as notebooks, pens and pencils, water bottles and sticky notes.

They have difficulty getting basic school supplies,’’ said Rev. Scott Ciosek, the rector at St. Peter’s and the chaplain at UMass Dartmouth.

“It’s been an additional expense that some of the students don’t have the resources’’ to pay for, he said. 

Their families are often struggling as well, he said, so they cannot help with the cost.

From her own college days, Bosworth said, she can empathize with the financial challenges students can face. “I totally get it,’’ she said. “College was a struggle.’’

Ciosek said his church community decided to reach out as a reflection of its commitment to the world beyond the parish doors.

“We’re looking outward,’’ he said, “and asking, How can we make a difference in the community, a difference in the world?’’

Several boxes of supplies have already been filled, Bosworth said.

“I’m stoked,’’ she said of the response. “People have really show encouragement and interest.’’

The church can’t solve all the world’s problems, Ciosek told church members during the Sunday morning service. “But we can play a role,’’ he said. “We can make a huge difference by helping people in our own community.’’

Anyone wanting to help can purchase needed items, which include pens, mechanical pencils, markers of all colors, notebooks, binders, notebook filler paper, (college ruled), backpacks, planners/calendars, sticky notes, calculators, staplers, flash drives, water bottles and index cards.

They can then be brought to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on the following dates: Sunday, Aug. 8, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.; Tuesday, Aug. 24 and Wednesday, Aug. 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 29, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.