MONT ALTO — Project Big Love will return to Mont Alto next month to provide a crucial need to many Franklin County families as they continue to recover from the global coronavirus pandemic.
This year’s event, featuring a drive-through format, will kick off at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 25, at the Mont Alto Fairgrounds, 517 S. Main St.
Shon and Tammy Duty of the Kaimon Group and ScrapRight Recycling Software started the outreach in 2012 to provide free shoes, school supplies, haircuts, food and other items to local families in need to prepare them for the start of the school year.
In 2019, Project Big Love served 1,300 people.
“With the coronavirus, we are expected to double that number,” Shon Duty noted. “We are prepared for 3,000 Guests of Honor this year, and right now we have approximately 2,500 new pairs of shoes, and 2,000 backpacks filled with school supplies. We are still going to have music and hopefully we will find some clowns and entertainment for the kids while they wait in their cars. We are also planning to have goodie bags for the kids. A bagged lunch with a hot dog, chips and a bottle of water will be served to every Guest of Honor. Again, this year, so many businesses, churches and individuals have given so much to make it a reality. We are making great strides toward our budget, but we still need to raise about another $20,000, so we are looking for more sponsors and individuals to help out.”
Project Big Love is still in need of a grocery sponsor for the outreach. This sponsorship is typically $10,000.
Numerous volunteers band together to help the Dutys serve guests each year, and volunteers are also always welcome.
“I’m amazed at how organized this event is,” one guest wrote. “So worth it, and all the volunteers are so friendly and kind. Great to see in the world today.”
“This is a blessing to our community of Franklin County,” one woman wrote. “I recommend that people volunteer to help if they are able. I recommend people who have needs to come and be blessed. It is more blessed to give than to receive, therefore, all are blessed!”
Shon Duty was inspired to start Project Big Love based on his own experiences as a child.
“I can remember, as a kid, not always having a new pair of shoes to return to school. I can remember using ‘Shoe Goo’ to repair last year’s shoes until Mom and Dad could afford a new pair. I can remember what it felt like to walk into school, on the first day, and fearing the teasing that might take place based on my appearance,” he recalls on the PBL website. “My hope is to put new shoes on as many kids’ feet as possible. My hope is that they can return to school with an extra boost of confidence that can come with something as simple as a new pair of shoes. I can remember when my brothers and I would get a new pair of shoes; we thought we could run a little faster and jump a little higher. Project Big Love is hoping we can help kids run a little
faster, jump a little higher, dream a little bigger, and go a little further. And, yes, we believe a new pair of shoes can help do that.”
Some of the current sponsors for Project Big Love include:
ScrapRight Recycling Software
King’s Kettle Food Pantry
NewsTalk 103.7 FM
Craig, Friedly, Potter & Moore Insurance
Darwyn Benedict of RE/MAX Realty
Waynesboro Beneficial Fund
Donations for Project Big Love may be made mailed to Project Big Love, 206 Madison Ave., Waynesboro, Pa. 17268 or made via the website:
Businesses, organizations and individuals are also welcome to become sponsors of Project Big Love, with their logo placed on the website in recognition of their contributions.
For more information on becoming a sponsor, volunteering or questions about the event, visit: www.projectbiglove.org, email: email@example.com or call 717-788-4393.