Friday, 09 August 2019 16:10

Students score supplies at Rockingham Housing Authority's Back-to-School Bash

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The Rockingham Housing Authority and partnering organizations gave out school supplies to more than 200 children Friday at Falling Creek Park. See video from the event on the RO's Facebook page. The Rockingham Housing Authority and partnering organizations gave out school supplies to more than 200 children Friday at Falling Creek Park. See video from the event on the RO's Facebook page. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — More than 200 kids got a head start with school supplies and had a little fun Friday.

The Rockingham Housing Authority hosted its annual Back-to-School Bash at Falling Creek Park starting at 10:30 a.m. and the supplies were gone by noon.

Supplies included notebooks, pencils, pens, bookbags, glue sticks, dividers, folders, crayons and colored pencils.

Tavares Bostic, founder of Brothers Leaning on Another Creating Kings, said his organization gave out 120 bookbags. Bostic is also a county commissioner.

The Richmond County Partnership for Children was also on site to promote literacy and gave out more than 30 copies of the classic book “The Little Engine That Could.”

Representatives from FirstHealth Community Health conducted glucose screenings and passed out information on how to prevent diabetes.

Other agencies included the Cooperative Extension office and Union County Head Start.

The event also featured pizza, as well as Italian ice and snow cones to cool things down. Several girls found respite from the summer heat in the backseat of a Rockingham Fire Department firetruck.

As for the fun, there was a bounce house, video-game truck and an obstacle course, where the winning family was awarded $100.

Door prizes were also given away, with donated prizes including shoes, pocket books and household items.

Chereka Belton, RHA executive director, said the event — now in its ninth year — was open to all in the county, just not families in that community.

She said the purpose of the bash is “to give kids a great start to the school year, making sure they have the supplies they need.”

“It doesn’t help when you go to school and see everyone prepared and you’re not,” she said. “So we’re just trying to help the parents have their kids prepared for that school year.”

Belton said the event wouldn’t be possible without sponsors, which this year included: Covenant Enterprise; Banks Law Firm; Long’s Pool Center; Murphy Electric Supply, Inc.; Five Star Construction; Moss Brothers Tires and Service; and Grossi CPA.

But Michael McMaster, of Covenant, credits Belton for her vision and desire to help.

“We know times are hard … and you need other people to step up to the plate,” he said, adding that he’s a sponsor because of Belton’s initiative, knowing that some parents need assistance.

“God blessed me with the finances to help,” he said. “I want to do everything I can do to help move a kid along in life, even to help his mentality — to let him know you don’t have to be a gang banger to have stuff in life.”