After a successful first year, The Church in Rosepine took it up a notch for its second Back To School Bash.
More than 1,500 people showed up throughout the day to get school supplies and take advantage of different services offered Saturday at the Beauregard Parish Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall.
"Last year, we had such an amazing turnout, and this year, we tripled the sponsorship because they saw what we did last year with just 200 backpacks," The Church in Rosepine Pastor Greg Crawford said. "The fire department was here earlier, and we have the Eye Clinic offering free screening and things like that. Once we showed them what we were doing, it was easy to get them to buy into it.
"We didn't know what to expect because we weren't getting initial feedback. We just prepared, and by the time we opened the doors at 10 a.m., the line was doubled back and the parking lot was full. People just kept coming through all day."
The event offered free haircuts by Studio 101 and Untangled Studio, food, IDs provided by the Rosepine Police Department, backpacks full of supplies and games to play.
The church provided the bags, which were filled with donations from community members and members of the church.
Sponsors also purchased 12 different sized bikes that were given away throughout the day.
Crawford says events like this gives his church a chance to do more than what is done in church.
"We wanted to actually meet a need in the community," he said. "We know there are a lot of spiritual needs, but sometimes we can't meet those needs until we meet the social needs. We wanted to touch the social needs and open their hearts. We wanted to rub shoulders with people. We feel like this is our lane. Last year really showed us that it is bigger than we are. That's why we got the corporate sponsors and got people involved. We see that it is a great need, and that it is what we should be doing.
"Praise God, because we've had backpacks for every single kid today. That's why we have 500 backpacks this year, because we saw it was a need. Next year, we need to do 1,000 backpacks, because it's showing that there is more need than we have, individually. But, if we come together as a community, we can do more."