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25 Mathews students get a Fresh Start

Hands Across Mathews and Mathews County Social Services joined forces during the month of August to hold the annual Hands Across Mathews Fresh Start Back to School shopping program.

The eligible 25 Mathews students each received a gift card for buying clothes and other necessities. They signed a contract designating approved purchases and then returned the itemized receipts.

Lauren Oden with Mathews County Social Services noted the variety of online and in-person shopping venues (24 different vendors—in the past it was five or six) with shopping occurring in Gloucester, Newport News, Williamsburg and Richmond. Shoes and socks dominated the purchases with T-shirts and jeans following close behind. One shopper spent everything on his card to the penny as verified by his receipts… a first.

Funding for the Fresh Start program was supported through a grant from the Mathews Community Foundation, Central United Methodist Men, and anonymous donors. Fresh Start coordinator Shirley Rya...

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