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215 students receive backpacks at Elementary Extravaganza

Greenville Elementary School principal Kent McNaughton took a turn in the dunking booth Sunday at the Elementary Extravaganza, which was held at Southside Baptist Church. (Advocate Staff/Tracy Salter)

Greenville Elementary School principal Kent McNaughton took a turn in the dunking booth Sunday at the Elementary Extravaganza, which was held at Southside Baptist Church. (Advocate Staff/Tracy Salter)

Hundreds of students gathered at Southside Baptist Church Sunday to celebrate the beginning of a new school year.

Southside played host to the second annual Elementary Extravaganza, which was sponsored by the Butler Baptist Association.

Abbie Ballew, who was instrumental in the creation of the inaugural event, said event organizers wanted to show community members that they were loved, and they wanted to do so in a tangible way.

With the school year rapidly approaching, they chose to do so by providing elementary students with backpacks full of supplies.

Ballew said volunteers packed more than 300 backpacks and were able to give 215 away on Sunday.

Each backpack has the wording ‘Let the little children come to me’ on it. The backpacks also came with devotionals for children to help them learn more about God, according to Ballew.

“It was wonderful,” Ballew said of the event. “I was overwhelmed by the help from all the volunteers. Everything just went so smoothly. God just orchestrated the entire thing in such a God way.  We look forward to delivering more backpacks as we approach the start of school and continue to pray for every student, teacher and staff this year.”

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

Volunteers from McKenzie Baptist Church also staged a puppet show.

Ballew thanked the Greenville High School cheerleaders, Camellia Girls, Air Jumpz, the McKenzie Baptist Church puppet team and all the area churches that took part for helping make the event a success.