A Pauls Valley school is getting a helping hand from a local church with both food and art lessons for students.

Diana Pruitt might still be fairly new to her duties as minister but she stresses it's not about the First United Methodist Church. Instead, she says it's about coming together to help some junior high students in needs.

It was shortly after arriving here back in July, right after the start of a new school year, when Pruitt went across the street to see how the church could help the local junior high.

“I asked the principal and the counselor what is your biggest need, what can we do to help,” Pruitt tells the PV Democrat.

“They both said at the same time it was food. They said we've got some hungry kids.”

Church members then raised enough money in one day to begin the process of ordering food to help out the school as it worked to get accepted into a school food pantry program through the Regional Food Bank.

Since that time the church has continued with a Friday Food Bag program designed to help kids with food even over the weekends.

“We have it delivered across the street at the school. The counselor gets the food to the kids who need it,” she said.

“You got hungry kids in the world and that's just wrong. Jesus fed a lot of people. We're called upon to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We're called up to help meet the needs of the people around you.

“We're just filling in the gap.”

Yet another need getting the church's attention is with art for students at the very same school.

The church is sponsoring Love of Food and Art, an after school program set to begin next week.

It will provide junior high students with free weekly art lessons and a meal in the church’s fellowship hall. They're scheduled to be at 3:30 p.m. each Monday starting Oct. 28 in the church's fellowship hall.

“They don't have art at the junior high, so we think there are a lot of kids who would benefit from these art classes,” Pruitt said.

“We'll have an artist here to work with them every week.”

It also combines the two needs as participating students will also be provided a meal.

“We welcome anybody to help us with this,” she said, referring to other churches and local residents.

“Art supplies – we'll need all that stuff.

“We want it to be a safe option for the kids to come enjoy. It's not about the church but reaching out to the kids of a community.”

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