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Good Samaritan Mission hosts back to school day

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Hundreds of people wait outside to eat hot dogs and nachos on Back to School day at the mission. Area churches, individuals and service organizations collected both food and money; Somebody Cares Tampa Bay supplies the backpacks; Wal-Mart donated 900 $5 gift cards; and many volunteers donated their skills and time to serve the area’s needy children from kindergarten through 12th grade and their families.

By PENNY FLETCHER
penny@observernews.net
Good Samaritan Mission in Balm chose Aug. 16 to host the mission’s annual Back to School giveaway day. An event that started with giving 25 backpacks more than 10 years ago has now grown to include more than 1,000 children and their families.

Area churches, individuals and service organizations collected both food and money; Somebody Cares Tampa Bay supplies the backpacks; Wal-Mart donated 900 $5 gift cards; and many volunteers donated their skills and time to serve the area’s needy children from kindergarten through 12th grade and their families.  The mission, located at 14920 Balm-Wimauma Road is run by the Rev. William Cruz Jr. and his wife, Theresa.

Penny Fletcher photos

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Dr. Ervin Cerveny and Kelli Johnson of Suncoast Community Health Centers gave dental exams to children at the Back to School event.

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Kimberly Del Monte is one of the volunteers from Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon that helped out at the event. Area churches in many denominations took part.

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Clowns, singing, face painting and a blowup Moonwalk had kids laughing in between waiting in long lines to be served.

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Fran Lazar, a local stylist based at Bette’s Tip to Toe salon, 102 First Ave. N.E. in Ruskin, offered her day to give free haircuts.

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