Back to School bash helps 270 families

Volunteers on Friday, Aug. 2, organized and checked backpacks. Pictured are (from left) Republican Women of Coffee County members Sue Neuwien, Elaine Ridenour and Johnna Roberts.

Annie’s Outreach, in partnership with Coffee County Family Services, showcased the spirit of the community over the weekend during its first ever Back to School Bash.

A total of 270 free backpacks -- each stuffed with a full list of school supplies -- were given to area families in need.

Annie’s co-owner Matt Larson, who is in charge of Annie’s Outreach, said the event was able to reach its goal of over 250 backpacks, which will now be distributed to K-12 students in Enterprise and Coffee County schools.

“It was great,” Larson said. “This was actually our first time doing this event. We’ve done some similar stuff, but this time we wanted to go over the top a little bit as far as school supplies. We were able to get all the school supplies. Every kid is going to have their whole school list (when they start school).”

Kids were also able to pick out underwear, socks, pants, shirts and shoes, as well as haircuts and a meal courtesy of Zaxby’s as part of the event held at Wiregrass Outdoors on Aug. 3.

“The children were kind of able to go shopping a little bit,” Larson said. “There was a pretty good selection, so they could go in and pick what they wanted. There were a lot of kids very happy.”

More than 25 volunteers distributed supplies and prepared kids on Saturday. Many of those spent countless hours in the weeks leading up to the distribution of supplies.

Judy Crowley, executive director of Coffee County Family Services Center, said she was overwhelmed by the support of the community and generous donations, including one anonymous businesswoman’s donation of 400 pairs of shoes.

“Isn’t this amazing?” Crowley said, looking over the donations as volunteers prepared on Friday. “This is really what it’s all about.”

The materials were collected in various drives over the summer and in boxes and bags at businesses around the area. Each family was screened by Coffee County Family Services to determine need.

Larson said there are “definitely” plans to do another Back to School Bash in the future.

“Hopefully, we can add a few more every year as far as kids we are able to help,” Larson said.

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