Children at East Franklin Elementary poured into the gym last Thursday to be fitted for a brand new pair of Nike tennis shoes. Biltmore Baptist Church, based in Arden, worked with school officials to target the students who would benefit the most from the give-away.
“Biltmore Baptist Church understands that there are needs throughout the community but after working with Macon County Board of Education we determined that the greatest need at the time would be with East Franklin Elementary,” said Amanda Bullman, communications project coordinator for Biltmore Baptist Church. “However, we look forward to serving more of the great schools in our community of Macon County.”
A total of 319 shoes were given out to children, and before each child was given the shoes, volunteers with Biltmore and the school system met with each child to ensure that the shoes fit comfortably. The event was held in conjunction with Teacher Appreciation Week and each teacher at East Franklin received a bag of goodies from Biltmore as well.
“Our church volunteers were so excited to deliver 319 Nike tennis shoes to the students and 75 Teacher Appreciation bags to the teachers at East Franklin Elementary,” said Biltmore Baptist Church Pastor Bruce Frank. “As we exist to glorify God in all we do at Biltmore Baptist Church, we’re blessed to be able to give back to the Franklin Community and show the love of Christ. We’re also pumped about the opening of our Franklin Campus at The Smoky Mountain Center for Performing Arts on Aug. 25 this year!”
The children were excited to try on the shoes and to take a break from the classroom. “I am so glad I got these shoes because my other ones were too small and hurt my feet,” said Isaiah, a first grader at East Franklin.
“My best friend Sarah got the same shoes, we are going to wear them every day and be twins,” said East Franklin second grader Ashley. As part of an expansion initiative, Biltmore Baptist Church has been working to create satellite campuses throughout the region and will officially begin service in Macon County in late August.
“Our church volunteers are excited to help by loving on a school in our community,” said Franklin Campus Pastor Patrick Trawick.
“We try to reach the areas closest to our realm of influence, and with our new Franklin Campus opening on August 25 this year, we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to give back to the Franklin community,” said Bullman of the church's project in Franklin. “Similar projects took place within the last week in Buncombe and Henderson County.”
The decision to move to Franklin began about a year ago after local residents discussed the possibilities with the church's leadership team. At the time, Biltmore was working to expand operations to a multi-campus church with the addition of a East Asheville Campus. With the success of that location, the church is working toward holding services at the performing arts center this fall.
In addition to the Arden and East Asheville campuses, the Franklin campus will add to facilities that serve around 6,000 worshippers each weekend. The church also has an online campus that utilizes technology to take Pastor Bruce's message to countless individuals over the internet.