Spencer Torres and organizers of the Sharon Community Church annual back-to-school drive and block party considered canceling this year's event.
Community donations of school supplies are down and there have been no corporate donations, as in years past, due to the tigher economy, Torres said.
"One year Sam's Club gave us 200 book bags, Torres said. "We were not able to get sponsorship this year but we were able to pull together. As it stands now we have enough basic school supplies for about 300 kids."
Torres expects 300 to 400 people to attend Saturday's event where backpacks and school supplies will be provided. The clothing pantry will be open and two barbers will be available for fresh hair cuts, before the start of school on Monday.
"We'll have several grills going with hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, pretzels, cookies, popsicles and water," Torres said. "We take great pride in our block party."
There will be a "Sandy Springs Idol" competition, relay races and other activities.
Sharon Community Church is a small white structure located on Dunwoody Place. The church was about to close in early 2000, when Pastor Henry Bush took over with only two members. There are now about 60 steadfast members, Torres said.
"This is a historic building. This building has been here for 120 years," she added.
Many parents who attend Sharon come in seeking encouragement and hope, from Pastor Bush, after being out of work. Teens having problems in school or life sometimes turn to Torres' son, Joe, a youth leader at the church.
"I give them some of my personal experience and try to boost their confidence. Sometimes younger kids need a mentor," said Joe, 22.
Spencer Torres said the church continues to accept donations. Saturday's event will be held from 1-5 p.m., however church doors will open at 10 a.m. [The church website incorrectly states the event is held from 12-5 p.m.]
Sharon is located at 8774 Dunwoody Place. For more information, Spencer Torres can be reached at 770-365-5155.