AKA giving out 500 book bags to students Saturday

Rashad Milligan/Douglas County Sentinel

Pictured, from left, Sigma Omega Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. members Rochelle Robinson, Shirley Springer-Arnold, Debra Feagins, Sheila Watts, Dedreial Jackson, and Barbara Lark pose for a picture with book bags.

A local sorority chapter is set to give out 500 free book bags this Saturday.

For the second consecutive year, the Sigma Omega Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA) has partnered with Jessie Davis Park for the Bookbag Blitz & Resource Fair. The chapter expects to match last year's total giveaway of 500 book bags. The initiative is part of the sorority's One Million Backpack program.

"The kids love the fact of coming in line and then they see us holding up different types of book bags with different designs and they get so excited as to, 'Which one am I going to pick? Am I going to pick the Barbie or the Spider-Man.' I like seeing the kids' reaction as to what book bag they want to pick," said One Million Backpack committee co-chair Barbara Lark.

Sigma Omega Omega Chapter Dedreial Jackson said that AKA international president Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson set a goal of giving out one million book bags during her four-year term, which ends next year.

Some of the book bags that are going to be donated on Saturday are purchased by members of Sigma Omega Omega themselves. Each member agreed to bring in three-to-five supplied filled backpacks, according to Jackson. Then the One Million Backpack committee decided to provide drop off spaces, where anyone could drop off book bags. The biggest donor was Just The Kids In Us, an organization that gave 250 book bags to the Sigma Omega Omega Chapter after the local AKAs assisted the For The Kids In Us drive recently in Atlanta.

Douglasville mayor and chairwoman for the Spiritual Oversight of Sigma Omega Omega, Rochelle Robinson, said making sure all students are prepared this upcoming school year is a major key to keeping the community strong.

"We're all in this together," Robinson said. "We're either on one side or the other, we're part of a community and we're only as strong as our weakest link. Not that anyone's weak, but sometimes in life you just need support."

In addition to the book bags, free haircuts, free health screenings, face painting, and food are available for attendees at the event. Jackson said the event isn't just limited to families in need either.

"We're inviting everyone with any school child to please pick up a book bag because we will have so many to give out. We don't just want to narrow it down to a certain group, a certain population, a certain demographic. Anyone that wants to stop by, as long as we have them to give out, we're giving them away," Jackson said.

The fair is going on from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Jessie Davis Park on 7775 Malone St. at Douglasville.

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