For the 20th anniversary of the event, community partners and the Knoxville Area Urban League worked together and doubled the number of children who received shoes from last year.
Almost 1,700 pairs of shoes were provided to students and estimated that there were more than 3,000 who picked up school supplies, according to the Knoxville Area Urban League.
“A new pair of shoes and school supplies excite children and inspire them to be more confident and successful in the classroom,” said Phyllis Young Nichols, president and chief executive officer of the Knoxville Area Urban League. “The Knoxville Area Urban League is proud to put smiles on the faces of deserving students for 20 years and counting.”
Every year, families and volunteers are eager for the community event. Children of families in need were able to pre-register to receive shoes through non-profits and school supplies were available to the children who attended.
During the event, nurses with New Directions Health Care Solutions also administer free COVID-19 vaccinations. Knoxville Area Urban League’s Community Health Navigators also offered educational information to those who attended. The Knox County Health Department had representatives on-site to verify which vaccinations children needed to start school, as well as information about where and when they could get them.
Attendees also enjoyed food, games, inflatables and free items set up by the 44 booth sponsors, who represented businesses, civic and non-profit organizations, churches and others.
The back-to-school bash was presented by sponsors Covenant Health, Pilot Company and the TVA. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and Boston Government Services also supported the event. Booth sponsors included Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, which distributed food and fresh produce to families to prepare for the busy school year ahead.
The Knoxville Area Urban League has worked to assist disadvantaged people to attain social and economic stability and self-sufficiency through direct services as well as advocacy. The Knoxville Area Urban League is a United Way partner agency and an affiliate of the National Urban League. The Leagues work impacts over 11,000 people each year. More information is available about the Knoxville Area Urban League on their website or by calling (865) 524-5511.