August 18, 2015 (Album1, Album2) - The Hope Clinic Incorporated hosted a "Back to School Bash" at the Tenaha Youth Center on Saturday, August 15, 2015 which had a large number of students show up to participate.
A great deal of support for the event was garnered through many businesses and individuals throughout Shelby County as well as a final $1,500 donation to send preparations over the top. As the event reached it's midpoint over 200 students had already been provided with their school supplies for the coming year.
Mike Belgard, Hope Project CEO, explained how the event began and it's goal is to not only reach students of Tenaha, but the county as well.
"We decided a few months ago that one of the things we could do to help with the community here, and the whole county, this is not just a Tenaha thing this is a countywide and area wide thing that we could best help students by helping them make sure they had proper school supplies."
Belgard stated the generous donations made it possible for the project to provide supplies for at least 300 students. Belgard commended Brandii Polley, Chief Operating Officer; health officers Maria Solas, CWO; and Loraine Osby, CWO; who led the charge to bring the "Back to School Bash" to fruition, "[They] asked me about it and I said, 'Go for it, I think it's a great idea,' and so we had a chicken spaghetti dinner, we sold plates to help pay for some of the supplies."
Polley explained for a few years the Hope Project has been participating in a back to school bash and decided to bring the support to Shelby County, "Miss Loraine came into my office she said we always participated in Panola County's Back to School Bash, she said we need to do something for Shelby County. I said, 'Let's get the planning going,' and it just took off from there."
An increase in resources for Shelby County is the motivation behind the program, and helping parents who are struggling to provide those much needed school supplies for their children.
Polley said it took the efforts of Osby and Solas working together with Hope Project management and the many contributions received to make the event a success.
"Next year we're hoping to have it bigger to where we can attract more residents to come and get supplies. We're aiming, hopefully, toward Center since that is the county seat just to bring people together for this big community event," said Polley.
Osby said the contributors were very willing to participate and that it was "amazing." The event was hosted at the Tenaha Youth Center through the generosity of the organization as well as the city's McNeil Park.