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Giving back: Back-to-school rallies serve community’s kids
back-to-school rallies
Jennifer Marshall paints the face of first-grader Kaylah Butler Saturday during a back-to-school rally at Full Gospel Tabernacle in Hinesville. - photo by Denise Etheridge

A generous trend of giving back to the community was on display this past month. Back-to-school events were held across Liberty County in July. The new school year begins on Aug. 6 in Liberty and Long counties, and many children from low income families received supplies they needed to start school prepared. 

The latest back-to-school rally was held Saturday, at Full Gospel Tabernacle COGIC on Veterans Parkway in Hinesville. District 3 Hinesville Council Member Vicky Nelson partnered with the church to sponsor the event. Nelson said about 600 bookbags were given out. Nelson, with help from 13 of her friends, rounded up more than 300 bookbags and the church congregation supplied the rest.

Nelson said she just had to ask, and people stepped up to help. A local home improvement company donated a case of bookbags and school supplies, and another individual donated the use of porta-potties and a wash station, she said.

“That’s the response I’ve gotten,” Nelson said.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Full Gospel Pastor Antoine Shaw said. “Trying to help those less fortunate than others.”

Nelson said many of the families who attended the rally walked to the event from their homes in surrounding neighborhoods.

Members of Hinesville’s police and fire departments had displays at the rally, and interacted with children and their parents. Two officers even tried their hand at hula-hoops. 

Free food was served, and activities including a bounce house, water slide and face painting kept families entertained.

Project Reach GANG held its 20th back-to-school rally on July 14 at Briar Bay Park in Riceboro. The organization is already planning for next year’s event scheduled for July 13, 2019, said Lavonia Le Counte, Project Reach GANG executive director.

Seven Ministries of Liberty County and ESG-Operations also held a rally on July 14 on the corner of Rebecca Street and Shipman Avenue in Hinesville. Hinesville’s District 1 Council Member Diana Reid teamed up with Gary Gilliard, president and CEO of Seven Ministries, for the event. Organizers gave away backpacks and school supplies, provided free food, pony rides and a bounce house.

The Inspirational Living Foundation hosted a Back-to-School Bash July 29 and 30 at the Shuman Recreation Center on Tupelo Trail in Hinesville. The foundation gave away more than 100 book bags with school supplies. That event freely offered attendees a basketball clinic, haircuts, food, music, bounce houses and arts and crafts.

More photos of these events can be found on page 14. A video of the rally at Full Gospel Tabernacle can be viewed on the Courier website.

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