SUNRISE, Fla. — With only a week left before many of Broward’s students return to school, more than 4,000 people turned out to the BB&T Center on August 10 for Broward’s Back to School Community Extravaganza distribution event. For a third year, the Children’s Services Council of Broward County has partnered with community organizations for the annual event where families who have been referred by Broward school social workers received school uniforms, new or gently used shoes, and backpacks filled with school supplies.
Some families were lined up hours before the doors opened at noon, but parents like Mary Russell-Hankins were happy that they were able to get so many services in one place.
“We’ve been here since 9 a.m. but we loved it,” said Russell-Hankins, whose 11-year-old son Lennard was waiting to get a free haircut. “It was fast and we were able to pick up everything.”
Children of all ages grinned from ear to ear as they got their face painted and took pictures with mascots like “Hot Shot” from the Fort Lauderdale Strikers while parents received information and services from more than 40 community agencies like the Broward Council of PTA and Florida Department of Health in Broward County’s KidCare Outreach.
Last year the drive collected 3,500 backpacks, but this year’s goal increased to 5,500 to account for children who lose their backpacks or families who move to Broward. To pull off such an ambitious task, the Children’s Services Council teamed up with other organizations like the School Board of Broward County, Neighbors 4 Neighbors, COMCAST, Sun Sentinel, In Jacob’s Shoes, Running With Sole, HandsOn Broward, and many more. Although the distribution was limited to families who pre-registered with school social workers before the end of the 2012-13 school year, families in need may still receive supplies by contacting their school social worker on the first day of school.
BTSExtrav-Participants: Mary Russell-Hankins and her 11-year-old son Lennard were one of thousands who received school supplies, uniforms, shoes, books and a haircut at the Back to School Community Extravaganza powered by the Children’s Services Council of Broward County.
BTSExtrav-Youth-with-Shoes: Kids selected from more than 3,000 pairs of shoes thanks to In Jacob’s Shoes, Running With Sole and Converse.
About the Children’s Services Council of Broward County
The Children’s Services Council of Broward County is a special government created by the voters of Broward County in September, 2000 to provide leadership, coordination and funding for services for and on behalf of children. For more information on the Children’s Services Council, the programs it funds and its community impact, visit www.cscbroward.org or call 954-377-1000.