EVANSVILLE, Ind. – More than 650 youth and their parents came to St. Johns United Methodist Church in Evansville Aug. 6 for a Back to School Rally. St. John Pastor Billy Garrett partnered with the Indiana Black Expo Evansville Chapter for the rally.

The 35-member church and Black Expo gave away free school supplies and 150 pairs of tennis shoes to any school-age child. They served lunch to each student, too.

Garrett is currently working on another program with Black Expo called Jeans for Teens. They plan to give away free jeans for youth during the upcoming holiday season.

Garrett told Together, “This program came to me from a vision from God.”

This part-time pastor says he works full-time and has a heart for the poor. He also has taken his first orientation training this past summer to become certified to start a church-based daycare.

In another program, the church has acquired a small freezer to assist in a food pantry and to assist youth and their families in having a better protein diet. The church hopes to feed the hungry and to raise funds for food collections and meat for the holiday season for low- to moderate-income families.

These programs will be based at St. John which members fondly call the “BIG JOHN” ministry.

“We called it BIG JOHN because we do everything in a big way,” said Garrett.

Photo courtesy of St. Johns UMC

Hundreds pack St. Johns UMC in Evansville for a Back to School Rally sponsored by the church and by the Evansville Chapter of Black Expo.