Lauderhill, Florida – In Lauderhill, the community is coming together with a series of back-to-school events, celebrating the upcoming academic year with a vibrant sense of connection and shared purpose.
Last Saturday, John Mullin Park was transformed into a lively gathering place, where an array of complimentary services was offered. From food and face painting to essential haircuts, the main highlight of the event was the distribution of free backpacks and school supplies to the city’s students.
Next Saturday, Aug. 5, the City of Lauderhill will once again host a free backpack giveaway — this time, at St. George Park, located at 3501 NW 8th Street, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
“The babies go for the face painting. The older kids go for the free food,” City Commissioner Lawrence “Jabbow” Martin said. “But just the activities of seeing a cross-section of individuals out here, servicing their needs, is what we’re all about.”
The successful gathering was the result of a collaboration between local government, homeowners’ associations, and community donations, leading to the collection of around 1,000 backpacks. These backpacks were carefully distributed across two weekends, ensuring a balanced outreach.
“Bring the community closer together, to make us one, to try to bring unity, to try to stop some of this crime, and just let the kids know that it is something that you can do [and be] happy,” volunteer Willie Jean Wilkerson said. “It’s just a little something for them to get started with, you know, to help the parents out.”
Lauderhill residents are limited to one backpack per student. Attention to detail was a hallmark of the event, with age-appropriate school supplies packed in the backpacks. For example, high school students’ bags included more folders and notebooks, while elementary students’ bags included coloring supplies and a pencil case with a composition notebook.
Reactions ranged from excitement to heartfelt gratitude, as captured by a thrilled fourth-grader.
“It’s been fun,” he said. “A lot of people came out. People came out to give out book bags, they had to give out stuff, and face painting, food.”
The backpack distribution process was carefully executed to ensure fairness and order, with proof of residency required. The approach underscored an ethos of equity. The City of Lauderhill will continue this successful initiative on Saturday, Aug. 5, at St. George Park.
“Next week, next Saturday will be at St. George Park,” Wilkerson said. “Keep doing the same thing all over again. So, just come out and visit us, and kind of help us out a little bit.”