BARTOW – There were 500 packs of free school supplies available this past Saturday as dozens of Polk County children descended upon the Carver Recreation Center for a back to school party Aug. 3.

The Blast Off Bartow Back 2 School Bash was put together by three community groups – Endless Abilities for Children with Disabilities, All For 1 and the Polk County Snapping Turtles. The groups combined for the first time to capitalize upon the work each already had been doing annually.

And, in the event’s debut, organizers felt it was a success.

“We had 400 students pre-register, but we have enough supplies for 500,” said Resheka Harris, from Endless Abilities and an organizer of the event.

Students registered for the supplies and, as part of the event, they had to visit 10 vendors to learn about safety and other school-related subjects.

There were also basketball clinics, fire trucks, a bounce house, a reading room, face-painting, plenty of free food and music featuring DJ Heavy TNT and a live performance from Stephon.

Anthony Nettles, the chairman of the Spinning Turtles, said his group has been hosting back to school events for the last five years.

This year, it changed a bit as the three groups combined in an effort to have a larger event to help the community.

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