FLORENCE — Lunch, plastic firefighter helmets, stick on badges, good music and back-to-school supplies were the order of the day Saturday at Florence’s Levy Park.
“It’s a back to school, stop the violence event we do every year for back-to-school,” said Buddha Ratt, the event organizer. “Different community organizations and community leaders out here today to try to get the kids sent back to school on the right note.”
Volunteers sat under the shelter where they had organized an assembly line to pack the backpacks while organizations sat at tables around the outside of the shelter to give people a chance to register to vote, get a hotdog, climb on a Florence Fire Department engine or get some lemonade
“We have information on violence and bullying on the table that we’ll put in the backpacks with numbers on there for kids if they need to contact anyone,” he said.
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In addition to school supplies, the backpacks are an act of love and support for the students and parents.
“The kids understand someone loved them enough to do this and the parents too. If you go try to buy school supplies, whowee, that’s a lot of money — especially if you have more than one child,” Buddha said. “We’re trying to help the parents at the same time and send the kids back to school with enough stuff that they won’t be lacking when the school year starts.”
“I’m just trying to get them back to school the right way and make a difference in the community,” he said.