The Back-to-School Bash was held over the weekend at the Altus Community Center on Falcon Road and to say it was a success would be an understatement.
Although the event did not actually start until 10 a.m. Saturday, by 7:45 a.m., families from all over the community had already begun to line up outside of the west door of the community center.
The planning phase of the event began several months ago as Operation Care, Southwestern Youth Services and Mission on Wheels began formulating plans for the event. The idea was to get the Jackson County community to gather together and provide all the supplies necessary to lessen the burden on the teachers for the 2016-17 school year.
One of the ways the groups were able to do this was by hosting a Battle of the Banks event.
Of the banks that participated, NBC Bank donated 483 items for a first-place finish, followed by Herring Bank with 441 items, Frazer Bank with 327 items, Red River Credit Union with a $75 donation, Shamrock Bank with a donation of 45 items and MidFirst Bank with a donation of 14 items.
In addition to free school supplies, Razor’s Edge and Bourbon Iris Salon provided free haircuts for any child who wanted one and the Jackson County Health Department provided health screenings and immunizations free of charge.
Considering the length of the line and wait times, parents did not have to worry too much about impatient kids as BJ’s Moon Jump and McDonald’s provided a bounce house for the children to enjoy while their parents waited to be let inside.
Roughly 56 volunteers showed up to do their part for the Back-to-School Bash and as a thank you, were met with free breakfast provided by Whataburger. There were 27 booths were set up to promote various offerings from fun things for kids to do to healthy eating and living information.
While browsing the various booths, there was free food and drinks for the public to enjoy as Frazer Bank and Bar-S Foods teamed up to provide hot dogs for the event, Strong Tower Ministries and the Christian Motorcycle Association provided free water and Operation Care provided chips.
Many local organizations showed up in support of the event. These organizations include: The Altus Police Department, Altus Fire Department, Whataburger, Altus 4-H Club and many more.
By the time the event had ended, the Bash was able to provide more than 600 children from the community with backpacks and school supplies in preparation for the upcoming school year.
It was much more than just an event for distributing supplies.
“It was an outreach that helped on so many different levels from the schools to the teachers and students,” said Jeanne Brandon, executive director of Southwestern Youth Services. “It was very, very emotional to see so many young children getting the things they need for school and all of us are just so thankful to everyone who donated and supported this event.”
The event helped provide much needed relief for needy families who may have not had the money needed to purchase school supplies for their children and insured that every child who came to the event received all they needed to get the school year started off right.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.