Thousands enjoy Back-to-School Bash

The annual Back-to-School Bash came and went this past weekend, bringing thousands of children and parents to Harmony Freewill Baptist Church to both get much-needed school supplies and to spend quality time with one another.

Pastor Brandon Young said this year’s event brought roughly 3,200 children and their parents.

“We had about 1,500 backpacks,” Young said. “We gave out about 1,000 of them.”

This year’s Bash included public transit from several different county schools courtesy of Carter County School buses, and featured a variety of entertainment activities, including an illusionist, face painting, a train ride and more.

“It was wonderful,” he said. “It was very organized […] It did not seem that crowded.”

Part of that success was due to the improved transit system, which consistently brought old groups out of the event while bringing in new groups, so there was a constant flow of people.

He said the event was an important step for many families who struggle financially with preparing for the school year.

“We think it is wonderful we could ensure they go to school with what they need,” Young said.

Beyond even the need, however, Young said the Bash helped provide families with the ability to make memories and spend fun times with each other without cost.

“Families were making memories,” Young said. “It did not cost anything.”

One of the highlights, he said, was the illusionist inside the church itself. In one of their acts, he said they levitated a woman in the air. He said he enjoyed watching the joy on the children’s faces through the whole event.

He said the volunteer support, both during and before the event, was greatly appreciated.

“I would say thank you, but that is not sufficient,” he said. “We would love to have them volunteer next year.”

Young said they still have roughly 300 backpacks left over once everything cleaned up after the Bash. These bags are still available for those who were unable to make the Bash, and Young also said he plans to distribute them to school counselors across the county, as well.

As a pastor, however, he said he had one more person to thank for the Bash’s success.

“We are most grateful the presence of Jesus was there,” Young said.

Young said those interested in claiming some of the leftover backpacks are welcome to do so, ideally before worship services, specifically before 10 a.m. on Sundays and around 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

The church is located at 3405 Gap Creek Road in Hampton.

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