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Elementary Extravaganza set for Sunday

Volunteers have packed more than 300 backpacks with school supplies, and hope to distribute those backpacks to area school children during the second annual Elementary Extravaganza Sunday at Southside Baptist Church in Greenville. (Courtesy photo)

Volunteers have packed more than 300 backpacks with school supplies, and hope to distribute those backpacks to area school children during the second annual Elementary Extravaganza Sunday at Southside Baptist Church in Greenville. (Courtesy photo)

A new school year is a time of excitement, but for many families it can also be a source of stress.

School supplies, backpacks and new clothes can strain already tight budgets, which is why the Butler Baptist Association is lending a helping hand to ensure children have everything they need when the first bell rings for the school year.

The second annual Elementary Extravaganza is set for Sunday at Southside Baptist Church, which sponsored the inaugural event last year.

Organizers have packed more than 300 backpacks with school supplies, and hope to distribute those backpacks to area school children.

Abbie Ballew, one of the event organizers, said the idea for the Elementary Extravaganza came about from a Bible study she was involved in at Southside Baptist Church.

“It challenged me to stop and think, ‘What am I doing for the children in our area?’ I am part of an amazing children’s committee that has a huge heart to start teaching the gospel to the ‘little children.’ So, I sat down and told them and (pastor) Herbert (Brown) my heart, and from that, with so much support and out of the box thinking, came the Elementary Extravaganza,” she said. “We wanted to be able to have the ‘Back to School Bash’ feel for the little ones. It has had so much prayer and support and has been a blessing to me. We serve an Awesome God!”

Along with the backpack giveaway, there will be bounce houses, face painting, free food and a chance to sink local principals and coaches in the dunking booth.

There will also be a puppet show staged by McKenzie Baptist Church.

“People can expect a fun time! We want the county to come together in unity to celebrate all of these precious children, and pray for them and their teachers as they prepare to head back to school,” Ballew said. “Come ready to eat, play and see a great show!”

Ballew said she hopes the backpack giveaway and the event help encourage those who attend.

“We hope to show the community that they are loved,” she said. “We want them to know that God loves them and that there are people here that want to help, support, and encourage them. Each backpack has the wording ‘Let the little children come to me’ on it. It is also filled with both supplies and a devotional for little ones to help them learn more about God. Children can’t drive themselves, so we pray that the adults that bring these children will also be blessed through this opportunity.”

According to Ballew, children must be present to get a backpack. Parents will fill out a short form to give volunteers to pick up backpacks.

The event, which is open to students in kindergarten to sixth grade, is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. For more information call Ballew at (334) 382-6561.