NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 400 area students received free back-to-school supplies, advice on educational opportunities and health screenings, thanks to an effort by a Tennessee State University alum who is making sure youngsters are prepared for the new school year.
The seventh annual Love’s Healthy Start Festival, started by State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., took place July 27 in Hadley Park with community partners, parents and vendors, who set up booths and displays with books. The event also included free food, refreshments and live entertainment.
Over the years, Love has partnered with a number of organizations, including TSU, to provide hundreds of free backpacks and school supplies, along with educational information and free health tips.
TSU President Glenda Glover joined Love, Nashville Mayor David Briley and volunteers to pass out supplies to students, parents and relatives.
“We thank Rep. Love for putting this festival together each year to make sure these students have what they need to be successful academically and in life, ”Dr. Glover said. “We appreciate him (Love) and all the other leaders for the support they continue to give this community and TSU.”
Love said the festival is more than a back-to-school event.
“It is designed to give the entire family an opportunity to start the school year off right,” he said. “This is not only an effort to give our students a head-start for the school year with back packs and supplies, but also to let them know that they are worthy and mean so much to us. This has been a great partnership with TSU. I can’t thank Dr. Glover enough for what she has done by showing the kids the next path for them when they leave high school.”
Shamika Simpson, along with her husband, Darryl, and their two children – Jaden, 12, and Deborah, 9 – were among the hundreds who attended the festival.
“I love this (the festival). I think it is great when people come together to do something for the community,” Shamika Simpson said. “Some people can’t afford to do some of these things, like health screenings, because there are some kids here who need physicals before they can go back to school. This is the community coming together to help the community; that’s perfect.”
In addition to TSU, a number of other area colleges and universities set up displays at the festival, including Meharry Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University. Representatives from TSU’s College of Agriculture gave tips on healthy eating and food safety, and provided crops harvested from the university’s farm.
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