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Church Holds Free Backpack, School Supplies Giveaway

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DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s a big giveaway for school kids in Detroit on Tuesday. The Greater Grace Temple is giving away 1,000 backpacks, stuffed with supplies. It’s the annual Back To School Festival which draws thousands of parents and kids each year.

The festival began 14 years ago when Greater Grace Pastor, Bishop Charles Ellis, learned of public school teachers having to buy school supplies with their own money because many struggling families couldn’t afford even basic items. Since then, the church and the business community have worked together on the festival and have provided over 10,000 youngsters with free supplies.

“There’s pens, pencils, erasers, paper, glue scissors, crayons. This is for children five to 12 years old, so it’s pretty much for the elementary group,” Ellis said.

On top of supplies, there will also be free vaccinations, giveaways, a raffle for two scooters and a free lunch.

“Pizza, hot dogs, McDonalds is going to have a slushy truck out here, ice cream, there will be a lot of food and fun,” Ellis said.

Kids can also get ready to go back to school with a free haircut. Ellis weighed in on the styles children are asking for today.

“The mohawk is still pretty popular. I’m 53 and back in my day it was a ‘quo vadis’ so, you know, you didn’t have an option, it all got cut off. Now, kids like two and three parts, they like designs in their hair, but we’re not going to be focusing on all of that.”

Other activities include free dental screenings, the free video game bus, inflatables and live entertainment.

The fair starts at 10 am and runs until 4 pm, with lunch at noon, at Greater Grace Temple, 23500 W. Seven Mile in Detroit. For more information call 313-543-6000 or visit www.greatergrace.org.

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