LAURINBURG — Going on its 18th year, the NAACP is bringing back its annual “Back to School, Stay in School” event to make sure local students have the supplies they need for the upcoming school year.
The event will be held at Scotland High School gym on Saturday, Aug. 18, from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Not only will students get school supplies but there will also be food. Both supplies and food will be given out on a first come, first serve basis.
In an effort to make sure students are prepared for classes from the first day of school, the NAACP hopes to serve students by supplying backpacks, as well as other items such as notebooks, pencils, folders, paper, and erasers. Between 700 and 800 students visited last year’s event and were able to get the supplies they needed for the 2017-18 year.
NAACP Vice President Tony Spaulding hopes the same amount of students or more are at this year’s event.
“There are families and children in our community who don’t have the supplies or the funds to get the supplies,” Spaulding said. “It’s also a wonderful way to give back to the community.”
The goal of the event is to raise around $5,000 because that was about the amount raised last year. Spaulding hopes that the goal will be met, especially with the new rule that requires all students to have clear backpacks for the upcoming school year.
“People can donate before the event or even after,” Spaulding said. “It’s a year-round effort — if a student needs help getting supplies during the year we do our best to help get it to them. But we’re not the only ones in the community who are doing this. Plenty of other organizations have risen to the occasion to help get supplies to students, so I just hope all the students who need it have the supplies for school.”
The event started in 2000 with then Scotland County NAACP President Garland Pierce. Pierce, who is now a state representative, still attends the event and has watched it grow to what it is today.
“It was one of the missions of the national organization and I liked the idea,” Pierce said. “We started with around 300 kids to encourage them in school and to give them school supplies so they’re prepared for the first day. Now it’s grown and there will probably be 1,000 kids.”
The first event was held at Bright Hopewell Baptist Church but soon outgrew the location, according to Pierce. The event then moved to I. Ellis Johnson Elementary, then to its current location of Scotland High School.
“Originally it was just the NAACP, but now the school has also joined in,” Pierce said. “That says a great deal about how the event has expanded and how it has become a full community event for the kids.”
The one thing for this year’s event that Pierce is hoping for is having the community come out and support the students. He believes that having the community come out and show their support will help the youth understand that there is an entire community supporting them and wanting them to have great academic success. The event is welcoming volunteers to come help give out the supplies to the kids.
Those wishing to donate can send it to P.O. Box 545 in Laurinburg or monetary donations are being accepted through PayPal account [email protected] For information, contact the NAACP at 910-277-8890.
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or at [email protected]