Carbondale Day of Peace Backpack Giveaway

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By Evie Allen

CARBONDALE -- For some families, school materials can be a costly expense. Saturday three Carbondale organizations teamed up to help bring relief to students in need.  

Volunteers with the Women's Center, Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church and the Eurma C. Hayes Center joined together to give away school supplies.  

"They can not be successful if they do not have the proper school materials," said co-organizer LaShonda Thomas.

Under the theme, Day of Peace, organizers planned a time for fun, entertainment and education.

"We all need as much education as we can get. And for us to have the materials and supplies that we have now is really going to help us for later," said 15-year-old Nia Allison.

Donations of over 400 backpacks and other supplies came from all over. Free health care services were also provided. Serivces like blood pressure checks, hair cuts and dental work were all done by professionals.

"I just hope I don't have to get fillings," said 10-year-old Edward Byram.

While there, kids enjoyed the bounce house, games and food. But things got a little serious when they took time to write a message on the Wall of Peace.     

"No violence, have peace," wrote 11-year-old Chris Crowely.

"It's like a big reminder that you have to be peaceful to other people," added Bryam.

Organizers wanted the wall to create a unified message of the same goal.

"We just wanted to try to do an event that will bring the community together and acknowledge that we should all be working towards peace," remarked Nancy Maxwell, rape crisis advocate with the Women's Center.

Organizers believe the most important message is to work together.  

"When you talk about community and what community represents, that ultimately means that when there's someone that doesn't have what they need and I have what I need and I want to be able to do what I can to help somebody else," said co-organizer Chaise Miller. 

Organizers say it was a successful day with many satisfied parents and children. They hope to continue to work together every year. 

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