On Sunday, July 31, volunteers ranging from student age though older adults will join forces at Big Walnut Friends Who Share’s 13th annual “Brett’s Book Bag Stuffing” event at Condit Presbyterian Church.

In the church basement, volunteers will stuff student book bags with school supplies needed for the approaching school year as part of the Brett Stelzer Book Bag Project, a Big Walnut Friends Who Share back-to-school project that furnishes school supplies to Big Walnut families in need.

The project has been in existence for as long as Friends Who Share has been around. Mark and Gloria Stelzer, who lost their son, Brett, to an accident on Valentine’s Day in 2004 started the Brett Stelzer Book Bag Project. Brett would have been a member of the Big Walnut High School class of 2007.

“We have received generous donations that have been provided again this year to purchase book bags in Brett’s memory,” Gloria Stelzer said. “This is the 13th year that book bags have been purchased to hold the school supplies that Big Walnut Friends Who Share have provided our kids with for many years.”

Stelzer said area residents who want to volunteer for the book bag stuffing crew are welcome to bring along a friend or two to help. She said more than 70 people volunteered their time last year to stuff 122 book bags purchased in Brett’s memory.

“This is a great way to help our area kids in need, at the same time teach our younger family members the importance of serving others,” Stelzer added. “And remember, the more helping hands that we have stuffing the bags, the sooner the task is completed.”

Ongoing contributions for school supplies and book bag purchases can be made in Brett’s memory. Anyone wishing to donate to Friends Who Share in Brett’s memory can send their check Big Walnut Friends Who Share and earmark the check for purchasing bags and supplies in Brett’s memory.

Big Walnut Friends Who Share is eastern Delaware County’s grass-roots, all-volunteer social service agency, providing a host of other services to Big Walnut area families throughout the year, including food assistance, clothing, furniture, kitchen appliances — anything needed in a household.

For assistance, to volunteer, to donate needed items, or to make a financial contribution to Friends Who Share projects, call 740-965-9596. Cash donations may be sent to Big Walnut Friends Who Share, P.O. Box 424, Sunbury, OH 43074.

The Big Walnut Friends Who Share store is at 216 High St. in Sunbury.

Big Walnut Friends Who Share is on the web at bigwalnutfriendswhoshare.org.

By Lenny C. Lepola

For The Gazette

Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093. Email: [email protected].