MARION, S.C. –Children’s Outreach for Education celebrated 20 years of the annual Back-to-School supplies giveaway at Pop Dorsey Park on Saturday. Organizer Ellen Baldwin said she was thankful for the Marion County Healthcare Foundation for everything they’ve done along with donors and volunteers.
“I thank everybody for helping the children. I thank God for that,” Baldwin said. “I thank everybody for what they give. I appreciate this so much and enjoy working with the children so much.”
Baldwin said the event gets bigger every year.
“We got 1,500 shirts, 1,500 pair of pants and 1,500 bookbags,” she said. “We have a lot of stuff and I’m thankful.”
Children received school uniforms, backpacks, supplies and also free food.
Community leaders also played a big role in attendance including Rep. Lucas Atkinson, Marion County Board of Education’s Patricia Atkinson, Marion City Administrator Allen Ammons, Marion Mayor Ashley Brady, Sen. Kent Williams, and Marion Sheriff Brian Wallace, who also gave away a new bike.
Brady said Baldwin always does a wonderful job with the event.
“She runs the show and keeps everybody straight and does a wonderful job for these children,” he said. “They enjoy the supplies and look forward to it. It’s all about the kids and we appreciate everything that she does. The city is happy to help anyway we can.”
Rep. Lucas Atkinson said he’s been part of the event for about seven years.
“This is a very large event and it’s great for all of the kids that are here,” he said. “A lot of credit goes to Ellen Baldwin because she works on this year-round.”
Atkinson said it’s nice to be able to distribute uniforms and looks forward to the event continuing to grow.
Sen. Kent Williams said he’s been part of the event from the start.
“I’ve watched this thing grow and it is amazing,” he said. “It shows you the need we have here in Marion County when it comes down to our children. Going back to school I think it is very important they have the necessary supplies.”
Williams said hit warms his heart to see children taken care of ahead of the start of the school year.
“All they need to do is focus on getting their books and the best grades that are possible for them, focus on getting an education and not let things like this be a distraction.”