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Community’s donations help kids start the school year off strong

Local News

With the start of school just a day or two away for most kids, the Rochester community stepped up to make sure students had everything they need to start the school year off strong. 

For some families, the financial burden of a new year is a challenge. 

“I can’t afford, you know the hair do’s and you know everything they want for school,” said mother Tamika Ware. “So if I have somebody to help me, it means a lot to me.”

On Monday, Ware, a mother of two girls, got just the help she needed. 

 “So usually you have a book bag giveaway, but we know that kids need more than just a book bag,” said Melvin Cross Jr., event organizer.

Cross and his fellow organizers wanted to do more for Rochester’s kids. So they put out a call on Facebook and were blown away at the community’s response.  In one day they received 300 phone calls for donations.

“This goes to show us that there is a community that has a heart for those who are in need,” said Cross.

In addition to thousands of school supplies and clothing donations, 20 barbers and hair dressers were on hand to give free cuts and hair styles to all the kids. 

“I know how hard it is for parents,” said barber Rashad Clay. “Just to be able to take one less stress off parents, by helping them out, by at least giving them a free hair cut, it’s just one less thing they have to worry about.”

Last year, ‘total package day’ was able to help 500 kids start the school year strong. This year, they’re hoping to help a thousand kids.

“It takes a village to raise a child,” said Cross. “This is that village. We want our community to wrap around our children because we know that if we fail our children, we fail our future. And so we want to make sure that they have the best chance possible to have a winning chance for school and their education.”

On Tuesday morning, this same group will be out with a food truck, giving away free breakfast to students on their first day of school.

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