For some parents, buying everything their child needs for the first day of school can be stressful. Once parents begin buying school supplies, uniforms and making sure their child look their best, the cost can add up. However, local community leaders are throwing an event to help ease that stress.
Calbrina Woods, founder of Blessings for All Empowered by Faith, Inc. along with the New Millennium Men’s Club of Duck Hill and Central Mississippi Pastors Fellowship, Inc. of Grenada are throwing a Back To School Giveaway Aug 4 and 5 in Winona and Duck Hill.
The group also hosted a bash on July 22 at Eastside Pool in Grenada. The events will have food, games, jumpers, and children will get a chance to win gift certificates for a free haircut from Dre’s Tight Line, Jimmy and Vince Barber Shop, and Shear Skills Barber Shop.
Woods said there will also be a random raffle for children to receive Tom’s Shoes donated by Special Treasures.
“They’ve been partnering with us for three years now,” she said.
Woods said even though she would love to be able to give haircuts and shoes to every single child, they can’t. But, for some lucky child, it could be the blessing their parent needs.
The event will also have vision screenings provided by the Winona Lions Club. Woods said the members of the Lions Club will have its vision machine at the bash and will test the children’s eyesight.
“If they fail, they’ll get a referral to have their eyes checked,” Woods said.
She said for those who don’t have insurance, the Lions Club will also pay for the checkup and glasses.
Woods said the event began eight years ago in the parking lot of Dollar General. She said there were several teenagers at home for the summer with nothing to do. As a way to get the teens out of the house and to give back to the community, they set up outside the store and gave away supplies.
Each year, it got bigger and bigger.
“It became so big, they told us we couldn’t be in their parking lot any longer. So, we moved it to J.J. Knox gym.” Woods said.
As the event became bigger, it was clear to Woods there was a need and began Blessings for All Empowered by Faith began and the organization continues to give back to the community. She said the back-to-school bash is the biggest project the group undertakes. Woods said the group is packing 400 backpacks for children.
“But, we always have extra for those who may have missed the event and couldn’t make it for some reason,” she said.
Thomas White, a member of the planning committee, said that he has been involved in the bash for quite some time. White said he keeps coming back to the planning committee year after year because he enjoys seeing the children run around happy and full of life.
“Kids can be really cruel and can make fun of a child if they don’t have pens, paper or a backpack. This way the children will be able to get off to a good start which can make for a successful school year, “he said.
Woods echoed White saying the goal is to ensure the children have a great start.
“There will be a wide variety of events and will be a fun-filled day,” White said.
“Some schools are now requiring clear backpacks,” he said. “We’ll have clear backpacks until we run out and then we’ll have mesh backpacks.”
The event is sponsored by the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, City of Winona, High Grade, Dixie Roofing, Winona Lions Club, Campbell Trucking, Shady Grove Methodist Women, Springhill Lodge 388 Duck Hill, Jimmy and Vince Barber Shop, Dre’s Tight Line Barber Shop, Shear Skills Barber Shop. Becoming Beautiful Butterflies and community businesses and churches.