More than 100 pairs of shoes, 120 book bags and lots of school supplies were handed out at the first Hinesville Back-to-School Bash presented by Inspirational Living Foundation Saturday and Sunday.
The foundation’s founder, former Bradwell Institute Lady Tiger basketball player Charmaine Clark, said she wanted to bring the community together. She said it was a great success.
“Everyone enjoyed themselves,” she said. “The kids had fun and that’s all that mattered to me.”
Saturday’s giveaway was hosted at the Shuman Center and included a football clinic by former Bradwell Institute and NFL New England Patriot player Gary Guyton. Guyton was joined by former BI and Georgia Southern player Jarrell Crawford.
“Due to the weather, they held one football clinic,” Clark said adding roughly 40 kids participated. “They even did a few drills in the rain and loved it.”
Clark said the shoes were donated by Sharod White and several volunteers helped her gather the book bag and supplies.
Sunday the festivities continued with basketball games between alumni of LCHS and BI. The games were at BI’s gym.
The Lady Panther and Panthers earned both first place trophies. Former Panthers Brianna Reece and Zeek Coleman were named MVP for their respective teams.
Clark, who played basketball for the University of Miami, said it was great to see family and friends from the rival schools come out in support of each other and the kids.
“Overall, it was an unforgettable weekend, filled with laughter, love and positive vibes,” she said. “The theme for the event was ‘Bring the City Out’ and I think that was done. The alumni game brought back so many old but legendary faces and the gym felt just like high school all over again. Everything I envisioned for this weekend came about and I can only think bigger and better for the years forward.”
Clark said she was thankful to everyone, especially her family, who had a hand in helping. She also thanked her friends from Robins Air Force Base who traveled to Hinesville and volunteered.
She said she is already preparing for next year and hopes more organizations and people join in.
“I plan to do it every year the weekend before school starts,” she said. “I want to get more local organizations involved moving forward. A few have reached since and I’m grateful for that.”