Neighborhood Services News
Reflections on "Pack" for Success: Free Backpack Giveaway.
Reflections from Willie Patterson, Central Community Liaison on a recent event to give away backpacks and school supplies before the fall semester began.
August 14th, 2012 started out like any other day in the community but for me there was a nervous excitement in the pit of my stomach. The kind of nervousness you get before you play your best game or run the fastest race of your life. It was not a race that made me feel this way but an opportunity to give children and residents the resources that would make the transition from summer to fall a little easier and maybe even take some of the strain off of their wallets by giving away free backpacks to their children.
Believe 2 Become Central Zone collaborated with Madison CRC, Restorers and LINC to give away over 250 backpacks with supplies to the community. Duthler’s Family Foods donated items, Revolution Christian Ministries sent volunteers to lend a hand wherever they were asked. The day revolved around backpacks and school supplies but offered so much more; there were games, sno-cones and grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for all who attended.
As I began to set up the B2B information table around 10:00am, my nervous energy began to subside as the sun warmed my back and the table began to take shape. I started to see flocks of people descending upon Madison Place; at that point I knew the event would be a success. There were more than 150 parents and children in line by 10 o’clock! The line continually grew and cars slowed on the street to see what was happening. Business owners along Madison came out in support of the event. Every child got a backpack and a B2B ID tag to put on their bags, and information on the 5 Vital Behaviors being the keys to success were given out. Residents learned of the Reading Rewards Program, babies were enrolled in the Baby Scholar program and information about the upcoming community meetings were disseminated. There were even some grandparents that came out and found themselves enjoying sno-Cones, which they hadn’t had in over thirty years.
All-in-all the event was a huge success, everyone that came walked away with a backpack and some B2B paraphernalia that marked the start of a school year that will see the educational needle move up because the Central Zone community took the time to collaborate, pool their resources, and make sure our children were ready when the first bell rang.