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8th Annual Back to School Bash happening Saturday, alongside first Stop Youth Violence rally

Published: Aug. 21, 2021 at 12:52 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The 8th annual Back to School Bash will take place Saturday at the MLK Center on 8th Street at noon.

It’s organized by the Wilmington Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and the Grand Sponsor of the event is Novant Health.

Organizers and volunteers have been working since Wednesday putting together bookbags full of school supplies and important information on resources in the community for children and families who need it.

“They are stuffed, they are packed up and ready to go and we can’t wait to bless the kids of Wilmington,” said Pastor Jermaine Armour of New Saint Luke Church.

Three-thousand backpacks are stuffed and ready to go. The Wilmington Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (WIMA) partnered with over 30 local churches, businesses, fraternities/sororities, and government agencies to make it happen, along with Grand Sponsor Novant Health.

Those backpacks will be handed out Saturday at noon.

“This is a three day process just to get to Saturday just to see a smile on the child’s face and to see the parents as well who appreciate the help,” Armour said.

Novant Health will also provide free wellness checkups and blood screenings at the event and the New Hanover County Health Department will be offering COVID-19 vaccines.

Organizers want to make sure that all families feel welcome, so there will be Spanish Interpreters for the LatinX community.

The Back to School Bash will simultaneously happen alongside the first ever Stop Youth Violence Rally, which will be attended by the District Attorney Ben David, New Hanover County Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Foust, along with other local elected officials. There will be local testimonials as well. This rally was not only organized by WIMA, but Moms-N-Mourning.

Founder and president Judy McKnight lost her only son to violence and had to bury him on his 21st birthday.

She said this event will allow them to reach more people.

“We are feeling that we need to get in the community, speak out, make awareness of all the violence that’s going on around us,” McKnight said. “Tomorrow is going to bring about kids and their parents, and that’s who we need to speak to. We need the parents to be able to look at that little child that they’re raising and continue to stay in their lives so that they don’t go astray when they become teenagers, and this is going to give us the opportunity to reach more people at one time.”

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