Back 2 School Bash helps 1,000 families get ready for new school year
BY KARISSA MILLER
More than 1,000 families turned out for Saturday’s 2017 Back 2 School Bash to receive free school supplies and essentials provided to local students who might not otherwise have them.
The Back 2 School Bash, one of Iredell County’s largest school supply giveaways, is an annual community outreach sponsored and supported by local area businesses, non-profits and churches. The event took place inside of Statesville High School from 9 a.m. until noon. However, it continued well past lunchtime.
Rev. Amy Spivey of Monticello UMC, one of the organizers, said the event is a way to help and fill the gaps for families in our community.
“It relieves some initial stress and provides those basic needs. Students start off confident and well prepared. We bear the burden with families,” Spivey explained.
The event is also a way to “extend Christ’s love into the lives of others in the community while meeting their basic needs,” she added.
Volunteers measure and wash the children’s feet, a symbolic act of care and love demonstrated by Jesus. After this is done, students receive a fresh pair of socks and new tennis shoes, and then volunteers offer to say a prayer for them.
Over the past six to eight months 30 churches and several community groups collected the needed school supplies, backpacks and tennis shoes, allowing the event to be completely donation based, organizers stated.
Dad Marlon Sorten said that the free supplies, especially the shoes, help a lot.
Families also had an opportunity to attend the free book fair, receive complimentary goods from community vendors and listen to music outside played during the event.
Around 175 volunteers, including some high school students, staffed the stations.
“You don’t realize how many people in Statesville need help,” said Julia McClain, a South Iredell High School student and shoe station volunteer.
Backpack station volunteers Mary Morton and Jamie Smith agreed. They both volunteered after hearing about the event through their church and said Saturday was a humbling experience.
While the lines were sometimes long and zig-zagged around the building, it gave many of the volunteers an opportunity to get to know the families and kids. In particular, it gave one volunteer an opportunity to light up a young child’s world, literally.
“Herbert worked with a family who wanted to get light-up shoes. We were able to get the light-up shoes. It was a real moment of grace,” Spivey said.
The first day of class for Iredell-Statesville Schools students is Aug. 28.