Meeting the Needs of the Family

Meeting the Needs of the Family

by Susan Neuhalfen

As summer winds down, one thing that excites kids is going back to school and all of the newness that goes with it. New clothes, new backpacks, new supplies, new haircuts…but what about the families who don’t have the budget for that? How can those kids share in the excitement of the new school year?

Every year There Has To Be More Ministries holds its Back 2 School Backpack & Health Fair in coordination with Lake Dallas ISD and other great Lake Cities sponsors and businesses. It is a family-friendly event providing backpacks, school supplies, immunizations, physicals,haircuts, vision screenings and more for economically-challenged students in LDISD.

There Has To Be More Ministries, started by Michael and Suzanne Barnhart, is a non-profit organization that works without walls. They are willing to work with churches and non-profit charities to provide for the needs of families in the Lake Cities area. Though they work all year round, the Back 2 School Backpack & Health Fair is their biggest event and now in its 3rd year, it has grown to serve approximately 600 children in LDISD.

“We want to make sure these kids have what they need to start the school year off right,” said Barnhart, who had the vision for the ministry that he started six years ago. “We want them to feel that same excitement.”

In order for a child to receive any of the services at the fair, he or she must be registered before the July 22 at 5pm deadline. To register, go to Once registered, the family will receive a confirmation that their submission was received. They will then be contacted via email or phone prior to the event to let them know if they have qualified.

Many Lake Cities sponsors come together to help and the number grows every year, as it must as the event, as well as the need for donations, grows larger. Every little bit helps and vendors can even sign up for booths to distribute information, showcase their products or just provide some goodies for the attendees. Barnhart says that in addition to getting involved for a great cause, businesses could even benefit from being involved with the fair.

“We even have businesses in need of workers bring job applications for potential employees,” said Barnhart. “This event can go full circle to help the community.”

PointBank in Corinth is the official drop off point for donations for the Back 2 School Backpack & Health Fair. PointBank, has been a part of the event for the last couple of years, providing supplies and donations to help the event become the success that it is.

The Lions Club will provide vision screening exams while CareVan will provide immunization shots. In order for a child to qualify for the immunizations, he or she MUST be registered and parents must bring a copy of the child’s shot records on the day of the fair.

There will be nurses on hand to provide sports physicals along with the paperwork needed for school.

Ogle School of Denton will be on hand with their chairs set up and their scissors ready to give children great new looks to start the school year.

Another sponsor of the event, Eleos Community Care, will bring FUN. They serve popcorn to the kids while providing home therapy information and also bring the live entertainment, Rockin with Rhett. Rockin with Rhett is a fun Christian band for kids that makes the kids part of the show. Eleos Operation Inspiration is a children’s ministry that inspires children to achieve more through the power of love and encouraging words.

Barnhart counts himself blessed that there are other incredible non-profits in the area that help as well in the event. One non-profit partner on hand will be the Guardians of the Children, a group of Harley-Davidson riders who ride to the houses of abused children to “initiate” them into their circle of friends. The riders go to a child’s home and adopt them into their group,and give him or her a biker name and vest. A few of their motorcycles will be displayed outside of the fair for all to look at and a few of the children will be allowed to sit on them. In addition they will have a booth inside to talk about child advocacy.

Though the Back 2 School Backpack & Health Fair is their biggest event, There Has To Be More keeps busy all year round helping people in need. Much like the Back 2 School Backpack & Health Fair, they find items—necessities—for families in need. They are contacted either by churches or other non-profit organizations and they immediately set to work.

“We aren’t a church so we don’t have members,” he said. “We need donors and we’re grateful when they come through.”

Barnhart has stories about helping area families that would fill volumes of books. He and others work tirelessly to provide the supplies and necessities that families need—things that are taken for granted by most. He is forever grateful to the sponsors, such as the ones with the Back 2 School Backpack & Health Fair, who are there to help.

“It’s important to us that the Back 2 School Backpack & Health Fair provides children and their families a safe and secure place they can go to,” said Barnhart. “That’s why we do what we do.”

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