ANDERSON — Elijah Reeves, 5, loves football, so it wasn’t a shocker to his mother when he announced his favorite game at the Mounds Baptist Church Back to School Festival Sunday was a football toss.
And, excited to start kindergarten, it was a good day for Elijah to grab some free supplies for his first day of class.
With four kids, his mother Amanda Boyer said the festival, held at Shadyside Park every year, is a huge financial help, “especially with the older they (the kids) get.”
Volunteers, with the help of sponsors like Target and Unified Group Services, gathered items from each Anderson Community School Corp. school website’s list to get supplies for the students.
Boyer said the supplies she’s gathered from the festival in the past has lasted her kids until the second semester. There’s a big need in Anderson for events like it, she said, because “there’s not a lot of jobs and not a lot for the kids to do.”
“It’s been a tough economy, people are struggling, the town has gone through a lot,” Mounds Baptist Church Pastor Steve Wilkinson said. “The thought was, ‘how can we best help the community.’”
The event began with Tenth Street Elementary and later extended to all Anderson Community Schools’ students.
Superintendent Felix Chow said about 80 percent of ACS’ population is on free or reduced lunch. That’s roughly 5,500 students.
“Just based off those big statistics ... in my mind, it’s (the festival) a huge help to those families getting ready for school,” he said.
He added that the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is working on becoming a central location for families in need to pick up donated items like hand-me-down uniforms through the school year. Parents can also go to principals to seek help.