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Community back-to-school event on July 27 – The Observer News

Community back-to-school event on July 27 – The Observer News

by LOIS KINDLE

School starts on August 12, and Sun City Center United Methodist Church invites area parents to bring their children to the 2nd Annual Community School Start Fair in preparation for the big day. The multifaceted event will take place on July 27 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the church’s Life Enrichment Center and main sanctuary building at 1971 Haverford Street.

Of course, mobile units will be out there.

“There is a huge need in our community to prepare children for school,” said Victoria Sorensen, SCC UMC’s ministry director. “After all, they are our future. It is important that we invest our time and resources to ensure they have a successful school year.

VICTORIA SORENSEN PHOTO
Kenny Williams and God’s Dogs will grill hot dogs for children at the 2nd Annual Community School Opening Fair on July 27. The hot dogs will be served as a free lunch along with chips and water.

“We’re trying to provide assistance not only to parents who are working two or three jobs, but also to teachers who are putting money out of their own pockets every year to help their students,” he said.

This year, Sun City Center United Methodist Church partnered with a wide variety of community organizations and houses of worship to support the event by collecting school supplies and/or providing volunteers. It aims to help families of students who attend 13 Hillsborough County schools on the South Shore and the Boys and Girls Club in Wimauma.

SCC UMC PHOTO
Sun City Center United Methodist Church is hosting the 2nd Annual Community School Start Fair on July 27 from 10am to 2pm at 1971 Haverford Ave. This event will feature free school supplies, backpacks, Bombas socks, haircuts, lunch (hot dogs, chips and water), face painting, dental checkups, eye exams and hearing screenings.

Cash donations were also made by community members.

Last year, seven schools and more than 400 families were served, Sorensen said.

All kids get a FREE backpack, school supplies, Bombas socks, haircuts, lunch (hot dogs, chips, and water), face painting, dental checkups from Mission Smiles, eye exams from Preserve Vision, and hearing screenings from the Sertoma Speech and Hearing Foundation of Florida.

Depending on eligibility, children up to the age of 18 can also benefit from school checkups and necessary vaccinations starting at 9 a.m. at the BayCare KIDS Mobile Medical Clinic.

PAT JONES PHOTO
Sertoma Speech and Hearing will return to Sun City Center United Methodist Church this year to provide free screenings for children during the 2nd Annual Community School Start Fair on July 27. They will also be able to receive free dental checkups from Mission Smiles and eye exams from Preserve Vision.

Requirements include:
1) The child must be eligible for Medicaid and not have health insurance – or be a Native American or Alaskan.
2) The child must come with his/her parent or legal guardian (with a notarized guardianship letter and photo ID).
3) Even if your child has not been vaccinated, the most up-to-date vaccination records must be submitted.
To take advantage of both free services, registration must be made in advance by calling 813-554-7242 by July 15.

English and Spanish will be spoken at the event, and any leftover supplies will be donated to Inspira Tampa Bay and/or area food pantries.

The following South Shore houses of worship have joined Sun City Center United Methodist Church in making the 2nd Annual Community School Opening Fair happen: Sun City Center Beth Israel Jewish Congregation, Calvary Lutheran Church, Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Mission, Prince of Peace Catholic Church, Redeemer Lutheran Church, SeaGlass Church, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.

COURTESY PHOTO
BayCareKIDS Mobile Health Service will be on hand at the United Methodist Church in Sun City Center to provide free school checkups and vaccinations to eligible children up to age 18 during the 2nd Annual Community School Start Fair starting at 9 a.m. on July 27. Entries must be made in advance by calling 813-554-7242.

Additionally, these South Shore-based organizations and businesses pitched in to help with this event: Amazon, CarePatrol, Edward Jones–Sean Andrews, Freedom Plaza and the George Mercer Brooke Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution; HCA Florida South Shore Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital South, HCSO Substation (Sun City Center), Grease Monkey, the Greater SouthShore Chamber of Commerce and Holiday Inn Express; Jack’s Shack, Keller Williams Realty South Shore, Kids ‘R’ Kids Apollo Beach, Kings Point North and South Clubhouses and Kings Point Pickleball Club; SouthShore Kiwanis Club, South Replays Family Sports Grill, Sun City Center Emergency Team and Sun City Center/South Shore Lions Club; and the communities of Valencia Lakes and Valencia Del Sol.

There is still time to help. If you would like to make a financial donation to purchase additional supplies or drop off items at the church, contact Victoria Sorensen, director of ministry, at [email protected] or (813) 634-2539, ext. 1010.