The purpose of the event is to help families who require extra help by providing free physicals so the children can go back to school, backpacks filled with school supplies, boxed luncheons and groceries. A total of 700 backpacks and 500 groceries were given away. “It helps students to start thinking about going back to school and reminds them of the importance of good health,” City Councilman George Cretekos says of the event.
“It is something that is very rewarding. We like the fact that it’s getting larger every year…it means were reaching more people” says Maurice Mickens, the CEO of the Mt. Carmel Community Development Corporation of Clearwater.
The event originally began eight years ago. There were a few back to school events sponsored by non-profit organizations, but there was a lack of a major back to school event, so several organizations, including the Mt. Carmel Community Development Corporation of Clearwater came together to create a large back to school event.
Today, the event has grown to over 20 nonprofit groups, including the African American Leadership Council, Black Nurses Association, United Way, the Kiwanis, Restoriation Village Christian Ministries, the Volunteer Ministers for the Church of Scientology, Drug Free Marshals and others, and is attracting the attention of major corporations, such as Progress Energy. “It’s a true community project,” says Mickens.