By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — Around 6,000 kids were given essential school supplies for the start of classes last year.
This Sunday, Mounds Baptist Church is looking to give away even more during the annual Back to School Summer Festival at Shadyside Park. The church teams with Anderson Community Schools for the event each year.
Volunteers will be in the park from 3 to 6 p.m. with games and supplies from sponsors such as Wal-Mart and Target.
Children earn their school items by winning tickets at a number of carnival-style games.
Mounds Baptist Pastor Steve Wilkinson said it's an effort to get the kids "to be a part of the process." But he added that each will get the items they need no matter the amount of tickets earned.
The tickets will be beneficial in receiving something a little more special, like a backpack.
Last year, the event raised money for ACS’s positive behavior program to help reduce discipline programs in the schools. This year, the money will again go to that program.
"It's having a big impact, it really is," Wilkinson said.
He said the schools are doing better and that the event helps parents prepare for the start of the academic year. Especially those who need assistance, like some single-parent families.
Volunteers look at each ACS school website to see what the students need and then buy those supplies.
"It's obviously not supplying them for the the whole year," Wilkinson said, "but it gets them started."
With an earlier start date of Aug. 7, the church had to move up the festival by about two weeks. It's caught officials "a little off guard," but, Wilkinson added, they'll be ready and waiting for parents Sunday.
In addition to the games and free supplies, he said, businesses will be on hand for parents to do some intermingling.
The festival actually started off as a Tenth Street Elementary event and evolved to expand to all ACS students, Wilkinson said.
He added that it's really taken off since.
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