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Coming Together Organization prepares for annual school supply giveaway

School kids and their parents can gather together for a final “fun day” at the Theo Ratliff Activity Center this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a school supply giveaway as the main event. The time for the giveaway will be announced during the “fun day.”

The event is hosted by the Coming Together Organization (CTO), who started the event 30 years ago, and the Ratliff Center, with United Way of West Alabama and the Black Belt Ministerial Alliance also providing school supplies and financial support for the giveaway.

“We try to do this every year … and give them a fun day where they can drink, eat and play just before they go back to school,” said Willard Williams, president of CTO.

According to Williams, CTO started this event to benefit at-risk youth and then expanded it to include all students in the community.

“We saw the need, and we tried to patch the hole that we saw,” Williams said.

Participants can enjoy games, inflatables and food at the event. Ratliff Center employees will also speak to the attendees about the after-school programs available at the center.

“We want to provide services to as many kids that need it after-school. We don’t want to see any kid that is deficient in any area that is not receiving help from us here at the Ratliff Center,” Ward said.

According to Ward, the organizations have gathered plenty of supplies to cover the expected 100 kids in attendance.

The school supplies provided are based on the lists that the Demopolis City School System puts out for each grade, and they cover grades K-12. Items like binders, crayons, pencils, paper, flash drives and calculators will be available on Saturday.

Ward said that “It’s not easy for some kids, especially if they don’t have the proper tools they need, so at least let’s give them an advantage going into class. Let’s make sure they have the proper tools they need.”

Donations are still being accepted, and can be sent to CTO at P.O. Box 1084, Demopolis, AL 36732.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, August 1 issue of the Demopolis Times.)