A handful of community organizations have teamed up to create the Back to School Blast program this weekend.
Thanks to Helping Hands Community Outreach, Frank Johnson Community Center, Spirit of Ruth Women’s Ministry, Saving Our Sisters Network of Middle Georgia and True Gospel Christian Church, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, those in need will be able to get free school supplies, food and clothing along with a health seminar and health screenings at the Frank Johnson Community Center.
“This is the fourth annual Back to School Blast,” said Clarence Thomas, supervisor of the Frank Johnson Community Center. “This is a community grassroots outreach focusing on communities and family, primarily in the Unionville community. The Back to School Blast is one of our major initiatives. This is basically a partnership designed to assist families with taking the financial weight off of their pocketbooks as they head back to school.”
The event’s nutritional seminar is designed to educate parents about nutritional choices and healthy alternatives for their children.
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“This is an instructional and interactive workshop, and also includes demonstrations. We will also have health screenings, including dental screenings,” he said.
Despite the health-related events, the day’s main attraction is always the school supplies and the free clothing.
“We give away a ton of stuff and we will have free food, too, including hamburgers, hot dogs and chips. We think the kids will love it. They get their school supplies and information about their health,” Thomas said. “We hope to really get them off on the right foot.”
Organizers are expecting at least 200 people to attend.
“We know the need is great,” Thomas said. “With all of the major back to school activities having already taken place, and with school having started, parents will know better what they need. We fit in to help them top off and finalize their school supplies.”
Donations are being accepted at Dot’s-Forget-Me-Nots Clothing Boutique, 623 Cherry St.; Flava USA Fashions, 646 Shurling Drive; Habersham Records, 1375 Pio Nono Ave.; and the Frank Johnson Community Center, 2227 Mercer University Drive.
“We appreciate the public’s donations and have been working hard to increase our public participation. We want to give citizens a reason to step foot into small businesses that they otherwise never would, and maybe find new resources. This is a win-win for these small businesses,” he said. “Right now, most of the supplies are gathered from the organizing groups as we pull in favors and purchase out of pocket.”
Helping those in need is another aspect of the local parks and recreation department, and this event fits into that mission.
“We are so much more than just sports or games, and we have the power to impact people well beyond relaxation and recreation. We are working to improve the life of all of our citizens,” Thomas said. “This is a chance for the community to really help those in need. We want to give all our kids the best chance for success that we can.”
Back to School Blast
When: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 8
Where: Frank Johnson Community Center, 2227 Mercer University Drive
Information: 478-743-2587 or 478-751-9274