Dozens line streets, brave heat for back-to-school pandemic relief

Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 5:57 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Dozens of cars lined Highland Avenue and South Jackson Street in Montgomery Saturday for the chance to receive pandemic relief.

Parents and children braved the 90-degree weather for free backpacks, school supplies, uniforms and food. COVID-19 vaccines were also provided. Organizers said the event was meant to aid a hurting community.

“We know that there are many people who are struggling financially, so we want to be able to bless them,” Cynthia Handy with Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church said.

The goods were bought solely through donations. 150 backpacks, stocked with supplies, were up for grabs. 160 paper bags filled with groceries, such as dried pinto beans and macaroni, were provided.

“We have people coming all the time looking for food,” Handy said.

Visitors rolled down their passenger windows - from the comfort of their car - to be handed the complimentary items.

“It helps the parents that don’t have a lot to buy for their kids for school,” one driver waiting for supplies told us.

Another attendee, Monicia Barry, was sitting in line with her 15-year-old daughter, Aissatou. She said the pandemic hit her wallet alongside her family members and friends.

“We have to work together,” the mother said.

Barry believes the event displayed that even strangers are willing to lend a helping hand.

“It gives them hope, that they see that there are people out there that are willing to help them,” she said.

The day was geared toward youth from grades K-12 returning for in-person learning. Madison Sterling is a Montgomery student going into the eighth grade.

“[I’m] a little nervous,” the 13-year-old said sporting a black mask. “It’s been a while since I’ve been around people.”

Alongside those headed back to the classroom, anyone eligible could receive a Pfizer shot.

Medical professionals could be seen vaccinating those who pulled in. New Beginnings Educational Center provided the vaccines through UAB.

Organizers said those who got the shot will receive their second vaccine Aug. 21

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