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100 Black Men of Madison gives free backpacks and school supplies to families in need

100 Black Men of Madison gives free backpacks and school supplies to families in need

MADISON, Wis. - The first day of school is right around the corner and 100 Black Men of Madison provided back-to-school essentials for families in need.

The 100 Black Men of Madison started the Back to School Celebration in a member's garage 25 years ago. Now, the event has grown so large, the group is able to invite everyone to Madison College, where it provided over 1,500 backpacks filled with school supplies. 

"We found that there was a need in the community," 100 Black Men of Madison Vice President J.R. Sims said. "Some kids were concerned about going back to school at the beginning of the new school year because they didn't have the clothes, they didn't have the right school supplies."

Sims said new school supplies help motivate students for a new school year.

"Everybody knows that when you have something new, fresh and shiny, it's going to energize you. It's going to make you excited about getting to where you need to be," Sims said.

The event included free health screenings, haircuts, car seats and more. Students were also able to register for reduced-price lunch. 

"A lot of these parents could probably not provide these brand-new resources for their child," Sims said. "They're looking at this as a boost up, as a helping hand, as something that will help them at least tread water and move forward."

Rachel Usher brought her grandchildren and great-nieces to get ready to go back to school.

"I find it's very helpful for like the supplies," Usher said. "They have good books for the children who are just starting to read."

Usher said events like the Back to School Celebration help take the financial burden off of herself and her daughter.

"It's very costly, and financially, as far as the supplies, it helps a great deal," Usher said.

Parents were able to leave this event with the comfort that their students were set up for a successful school year.

"I know that she is prepared going back to school, that she has the resources and the tools that she needs to be successful. This helped to do that," Khara Leonard, a participant, said.

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