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Initiative celebrates 10 years of giving away school supplies

The year 2020 commemorates 10 years that The Back to School Empowerment Initiative (B2SE) has been giving out school supplies to Davie students.

This year, many families are reeling from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which has had unprecedented economic devastation on those already struggling to provide the bare necessities for their families, said Pastor Nettye Ijames-Barber, a founding member.

Due to the many disruptions, restrictions and uncertainties surrounding activities and public gatherings amid the-19 pandemic, it was appearing as though the B2SEmpowerment event would have to be canceled. However, Ijames-Barber, the initiative’s visionary and a woman of prayer and fervent faith, prayed and asked God for provision and direction. She couldn’t rest with the thought of not doing anything for the Davie youth, especially this year.

Donations began coming in and preparations began; the Covid-19 pandemic didn’t discourage, nor stop volunteers. They willingly masked up and socially distanced to pack 500 bags with school supplies for elementary, middle and high school students. The B2SE board decided to host an outdoor drive through school supply pick up in order to comply with COVID-19 protocol and still be able to safely give back to students and families.

Under threatening clouds that yielded a light drizzle, volunteers met on the grounds of New Jerusalem Apostolic Church at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15 to prepare for the day’s events. Barber prayed aloud and asked God to hold back the rain until the day’s mission was accomplished. Of course, the rain delayed.Volunteers, with gloves and masks, then prepared to work in their assigned groups.

At the entrance, with  Christopher Arroyl serving as an interpreter, the  first group greeted each car and took an order for the number of bags and grade levels. To facilitate the flow of cars, the next pair of volunteers called out the orders; the third group collected the order stickers, filled the orders and handed the supplies to the designated person in each car.

A tent for voter registration was set up where the final group gave out snacks and bottled water at the exit.

At least 350 sets of school supplies were given out. The remaining school supply bags were loaded up and distributed throughout  Davie County including the Cooleemee Shopping Center area plus local apartment complexes to students without transportation.

Superintendent of Davie County Schools, Jeff Wallace, stopped by to show support; he greeted and thanked the B2SE volunteers and Pastor Nettye Ijames-Barber. “This pandemic touches everybody. Our kids are going to respond how we respond. You’re putting legs on love and that makes a huge difference,” Wallace said.