GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WJBF)- As kids in Aiken, S.C. get ready to head back to school August 15th, the Fit 4 School event at the Aiken County YMCA made sure they start the new year out on the right foot.
With around 2,500 people there, it was hard to even find a parking spot, but there were lots of free school supplies to go around, as well activities and health tests to make sure kids are ready to hit the ground running on the first day of school.
“This is a celebration. We have music, we have clowns, we have magicians, we also have school supplies that are being sponsored by many many organizations,” said Everett Chandler, whose law firm sponsors the event.
As kids shuffled from booth to booth packing their bags with fresh school supplies, they enjoyed eating popcorn, getting balloon animals and posing with their favorite cartoon characters.
“Each year we have other organizations coming in to help buy supplies, so we have tons of supplies and we don’t want to have to walk away with any,” Chandler said.
The donations ease a significant financial burden.
“A lot of families cannot afford, especially with the high school kids… and the different things that they need,” said Mary Ann Nobles, who brought her four grandchildren. “It really helps out a lot.”
The event also aims to get kids healthy before school starts. Local professionals offer free vision and hearing tests.
“We know if you can’t hear, if you can’t see the boards, you’re not able to be properly educated,” Chandler said. “And our goal is to make sure these young people are properly educated.”
Hearing tests are especially important.
“About a third of the kids K through three will have ear infections and don’t hear like they’re supposed to, and we don’t notice it,” said Dr. Sherri Little, an audiologist with Hearing Associates of South Carolina.
Volunteers from the Aiken School of Cosmetology and Barbering also stepped up to give hundreds of free haircuts.
“It’s really nice to have it all done right at one time,” Nobles said.
Fit 4 School makes it easy for families to start out the school year with everything they need, plus new memories.
This is the sixth annual Fit 4 School event. WJBF NewsChannel 6 is a proud sponsor.