Students load up on gear for class with backpack giveaway

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    James Dunn III walks away with a free backpack during the giveaway.

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  • Isaiah Royburt hopes to finish reading the Harry Potter series by the end of the next school year at Martin Luther King, Jr., Academy for Boys.

    But first, Isaiah, 11, needs to replace his old gray backpack, which has started to tear.

    On Saturday, he joined dozens of students from Martin Luther King, Ella P. Stewart Academy, and Jones Leadership Academy at Calvary Baptist Church on Collingwood Boulevard, where church organizers handed out 150 backpacks stuffed with school supplies.

    “We wanted to reach out to our community,” said Deacon Willie Tucker, who attended Jones Leadership Academy as a child. “And why not give away something that they can use all year?”

    This weekend’s giveaway was the first time time that Calvary — which purchased the school supplies — has distributed backpacks to local students, Mr. Tucker said.

    As they waited to pick up the supplies, students played basketball in the Calvary parking lot and munched on hot dogs and corn on the cob, while music blasted in the background.

    Tearle Spears, a senior at Jones Leadership Academy, said the free backpacks would come in handy for students who can’t afford to buy their own supplies.

    “They’re giving away free things for students to allow them to go to school and not spend money that’s needed at home,” said Mr. Spears, 18. “After Christmas, somebody’s always asking for something to use.”

    Contact David Yaffe-Bellany at or 419-724-6050.