RINCON — Chick-fil-A Back2School Blowout officials are preparing to deliver a powerful and helpful punch for local students.
On July 29 from 6-8 p.m., Ready2Connect, in partnership with the Effingham County Board of Education, City of Rincon, Rincon Recreation Department and community sponsors, will distribute free school supplies. More than 7,000 students have been served by the event since it started 10 years ago.
The 2022 version of the Back2School Blowout is expected to be the biggest one yet.
“It’s the first time we’ve had a title sponsor,” said Destiny Bradshaw, executive director of Ready2Connect, a nonprofit organization that focuses on career readiness for families facing unemployment and underemployment barriers. “Chick-fil-A is going to make sure we get five hundred book bags. (Ready2Connect) usually (has) to pay for that, and Chick-fil-A is doing so much more.
“The owner (Jason Counselman) kept saying, ‘What else do you need? What else do you need?’ ”
Bradshaw revealed to Counselman that walkie talkies would be helpful because the Back2School Blowout has evolved to a mobile event because of COVID-19 concerns. Participants register at Macomber Park (1103 Lexington Ave.) and pick up their supplies, including binders, at the Rincon Learning Center (116 E. 5th St).
“(Counselman) said, ‘You know what? We just replaced our (walkie talkies).’ We are now going to get, I think, sixteen to twenty of them,” Bradshaw said.
Counselman is helping Bradshaw coordinate this year’s supply giveaway.
“He’s really thinking about every aspect of it,” Bradshaw said. “It’s pretty neat.”
Counselman initiated “Fill the Van,” a supply collection effort, at his restaurant at 5438 Ga. Hwy 21 South. It starts today and will run through July 16.
“Youth and education are our focus as far as community involvement and all the donations that we do so this sounded like the right partnership,” Counselman said.
Counselman is hopeful that many of the customers who visit Rincon’s Chick-fil-A each day will support the Back2School Blowout.
“We know it’s a huge reach and sacrifice for our guests to be able to buy extra school supplies and donate,” he said. “We are all in different spots during this time so whatever can be done by those who are able will be appreciated. If every guest brought one notebook, we could do two thousand notebooks in a day.
“Our goal is to fill five hundred book bags to give away at this event.”
Counselman asked Rincon Chevrolet if it would lend a van to the effort. The dealership, led by Executive Manager Jesse Greathouse, is also serving as a donation drop-off point.
“They were already a partner with this event so it was an easy ‘yes’ for them,” Counselman said.
Chick-fil-A and Rincon Chevrolet will push the Back2School Blowout on their social media platforms.
“We’re going to pool our resources and see if we can fill a van with school supplies and pack the book bags with supplies before we hand them out,” Counselman said.
Bradshaw is trying to line up additional blowout partners and volunteers by July 1. Candidates can reach her at (912) 527-4919 or email@example.com.