Mountain View Assembly of God Pastor Anthony Torres along with his wife Sasha, will be giving away 300 backpacks in a moving act of generosity at their first annual “back to school backpack drive.”
Officials from D.A.R.E and the Alamogordo Fire Department will be joining in to help with the event in the Arizona community.
Hairdressers and barbers from local establishments will also be there to offer free haircuts and beauty services according to the Alomogordo Daily News.
The giveaway, taking place on August 12, is being paid for with the church’s budget. The family hasn’t always had an easy road. They are grateful to help.
“We were there once. I come from a background where I was addicted to drugs and alcohol for years and I really shouldn’t be here today,” Torres remarked. “When I went to rehab in 2009 we lost everything, everything we had was gone. When I got sober we got back together and we had to start from scratch.”
They began leading the church in Alomogordo, Arizona in 2015. It has grown since then.
Their membership is going strong at 300.
They’ve made a point to care for those around them.
“The pastor before us retired. When we got here we wanted to be an outreach driven church. When we first arrived there were only about 20 people in attendance,” Torres said. “We just wanted to let this community know that we’re here for them, not just during the holidays but all year round.”
This isn’t the first time the church has given to the community.
They put pictures up of them buying winter clothes, and then talked about how they were happy to bless the people they were giving them to.
Sasha Torres says she knows what it’s like to struggle. It’s one of her motivators in helping put on the giveaway.
“We can identify with people who are going through hard times and to give them the opportunity to have someone help, that’s why we’re so out there,” she said. “It’s not that we just want to help people who are in need, we want to let them know that they're not alone in this.”
They hope to repeat the backpack drive next year – in an even bigger way.
“Our heart has always been to reach this city. We have over 50 kids in our church and we offer children’s programs. That’s why we wanted to do something this year for the kids,” Torres also said. “This is something that we want to do every year… My goal next year is instead of 300 backpacks we want to give away 600 backpacks.”