While rain cancelled the bounce houses, rock wall and other outdoor games, it did not dampen the spirits of those who attended the annual Back to School Kickoff.
Children from Tallassee and around the area came to pick up backpacks filled with back-to-school supplies and enjoy grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza.
The Back to School Kickoff is one of Tallassee's most popular annual events. Sponsored by Tallassee Automotive, Walmart, GKN, Guardian Credit Union and many other local businesses and organizations, it is hosted by the Tallassee Police Department and Tallassee Community Outreach.
Most parents and grandparents understand the financial burden of purchasing school supplies and that’s why community outreach became involved.
“We're trying to make a difference in the kids’ and the parents’ lives,” Tallassee Community Outreach’s Keith Tuck said. “There are parents who really can't afford the list of supplies and for a family with multiple kids it can be very hard to purchase all of those school supplies.”
Tallassee City Schools resource officer Sgt. Brian Clayton has been overseeing the Back to School Kickoff for five years.
“When we first started this it was called Cops and Kids Day,” Clayton said. “I got involved in it and I changed the name because we have different law enforcement here. It highlights everyone for this community-wide event.”
By reaching out to local businesses, the TPD collected enough supplies and money to ensure each child who attended Saturday's event will head back to school with the necessary tools to succeed.
“We had a lot of school supplies that were donated from businesses throughout the city, donating either supplies or money,” Clayton said. “We go out and get the supplies, bag them up and hand them out at the event.”
Tallassee police chief Matthew Higgins, who was on hand to welcome children, parents and community members, said the kickoff and similar events strengthen the connection between police officers and the community.
“This is another avenue to reach out and help the community and we enjoy it as much as the kids do,” Higgins said.