Published On: Tue, Sep 8th, 2015

Thousands Receive Free Supplies at Back to School Events in Boca, Delray

By CRA News Service

It was not long ago that Palm Beach County public school students were celebrating the end of the school year.

On Saturday, reality stepped in when parents and students found themselves preparing for back to school after what appeared to be a short summer.

“I can’t believe the summer is over already,” said Annmarie Blake of Delray Beach as she attended a school supply giveaway event at Village Academy. “Only God knows where the summer went.”

Blake was among thousands of parents and students who benefitted from the annual Back to School Bash at Village Academy. The Bash, organized by the Spirit of Giving network, is a free event for elementary, middle and high school students. Students had to be invited to the event. Instead of shopping with their parents, they were then paired with a “shopping buddy” who escorted them through the aisles to select whatever color book bag they wanted and appropriate supplies.

In addition to the kids and the school supplies, the event also featured health screenings, a health and wellness zone, a host of sponsors and vendors, including the Boca Raton Community Hospital, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the Delray Beach Public Library.

Village Academy’s new principal, LaToya Dixon, was on hand to greet her students.

“She must have hugged every child who came through those doors this morning,” Blake said. “She seems like she is a nice person.”

At the Wayne Barton Study Center’s annual back to school supply giveaway, more than 1,000 volunteers made sure that the more than 4,000 parents and their children has the necessary supplies for school.

“Today was an awesome day in our community. Everyone was able to receive the blessings from god,” Barton said.  “These kids are ready and prepared for the classroom. They have school supplies, haircuts and the girls even had their nails painted. They are more armed with tools they need to compete at any level in the community.”

Barton also donated two truck-loads of produce, meat and dry goods to the people, who came from as far as Miami-Dade County.

Charles OBrady, a former educator, was on hand to stress proper nutrition through his fruit juices.

Americans continue to struggle with obesity, which is largely attributed to the types of foods they are eating, OBrady said.

“A lot of them are filled with high fructose corn syrup and MSG so parents need to be aware of what they are giving their children to eat. It affects them in the classroom and I witnessed the effects of these children eating the wrong things,” the former math teacher of 20 years said.  “When they eat the wrong thing they become lethargic and sleepy, which makes learning difficult.”

Many people lined up early to get the free haircuts and hair-dos from Florida Academy of  Health & Beauty in Wilton Manors.

“So many of the parents here today couldn’t afford to get their kids’ hair done, so this was a joy for us to do this for them,” said Thomas Thompson, the school’s president, who has been partnering with Barton for the past six years. “These kids may have had a rough summer and they can now go back to school feeling good about themselves.”

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