The Miami Herald

South Miami needs backpacks for needy kids

Heaven Dixon, 7, is counting the days until South Miami’s Back-to-School Bash. Her parents, she said, can use a little help getting her what she needs to return to David Fairchild Elementary in August.

With low-paying jobs at a hotel and a restaurant, they also have to prepare her brother and two sisters. She already has some pencils, paper and other school supplies that she won during an event for kids at summer camp at the Gibson-Bethel Community Center in South Miami. Now, she needs a book bag.

“My dream is to get a pink rolling book bag with flowers, or may be a picture of Beyoncé,” said Heaven, who is going into the second grade.

South Miami’s Parks and Recreation Department director Lorenzo Woodley is hoping to make her dream come true. He anticipates about 300 children will be at the Aug. 16 event with hopes of getting what they need to return to school.

“We need paper, pencils, backpacks, folders, crayons, pens, and markers,” Woodley said.

Kashif Majid, 7, was also at the Gibson-Bethel Community Center for summer camp. He can’t hardly wait to return to Sunset Elementary.

“I need a really good book bag, because I carry heavy books … and I also take Urdu lessons three times a week,” said Kashif, who is of Pakistani descent. Last year, he was “stuck with a Toy Story book bag” that is now falling apart and is “embarrassing.” This year he wants “a cool red one or something with wrestlers.”

The annual Back-To-School Bash relies solely on donations from the public. On Thursday, Woodley only had 40 back packs.

“I grew up in this neighborhood. I know there is a lot of poverty. There are parents who are unemployed, and kids who live with their grandmothers,” Woodley said. “We need the community to invest in their future.”

IF YOU GO

What: Back-to-School Bash

When: 6 to 8 p.m., Aug. 16

Where: Gibson-Bethel Community Center, 5800 SW 66 St., in South Miami

How: Parents must make reservations at 305-668-7232 and accompany the children.

Want to help?

Donations can be dropped off at Gibson-Bethel, or call 305-668-7232 for information.





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