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VIDEO: Winter back-to-school event draws large crowd

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Parents and children turned out in droves Saturday morning for a back-to-school event in the middle of the school year.

Kamaria Boston, one of the hosts and creators of the Back to School Drive, Winter Edition 2023, said the timing of the event had a purpose.

“We seem to sometimes forget that during the wintertime and during the holidays, it makes it hard for people to buy and to afford some of the unforms and the coats and some of the school supplies that they need,” she said. “So this is the best time to do it, when the parents really need the help.”

PlayDatez and Magnum Pest Control partnered with several other businesses and organizations, including the United Way of Liberty Cunty and Unlimited Tax Services, to stage the Back to School Drive, Winter Edition 2023. The United Way donated 300 coats and several organizations handed out school supplies. There were even haircuts for kids and massages for teachers and parents.

“It was a true community effort and I think people understand the need,” Boston said.

Charrae Jones, who has four children, including 8-year-old twins, said she was grateful for the event.

“Everybody in the community is suffering because the effects of the pandemic,” she said. “People are struggling. So when people get together to give back to the community, it helps us a whole lot. “

Boston said she had a lot of help from the community when she was younger and this effort was part of her mission to carry on that ethos.

“These are some of the things we were told to do when we were younger — volunteer, give back,” she said. “We wanted to make sure we had an opportunity to give it back.”

The winter event was the first of its kind, but Boston sees it becoming an annual occurrence.

“We wanted to test it out today,” she said. “The community spoke. I am beyond amazed. They’re here and we’re so ecstatic.”