In their 13th year, B.R.A.V.E. will host Project Fresh Start, providing area children with school supplies and backpacks Saturday, August 12, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
This initiative first launched locally in 2004, at Central Park. Then, area firefighters gave out 200 bags of school supplies to attending youth. Through the years, with support from the community and businesses, Project Fresh Start has continued to grow and service more children. This year B.R.A.V.E. will provide school supplies to 3,000 children.
The Clinton Foundation took notice, and in 2016 partnered with B.R.A.V.E. providing 400 backpacks with school supplies. This year they will provide 1,000 backpacks. These will be given on a first come, first serve basis. “They are also bringing their culinary team for a healthy eating demonstration,” says Johnnie Brown, President of B.R.A.V.E. “They will give away up to 100 bags of food to participants of the demonstration.”
“We’re not just passing our backpacks and school supplies,” Brown says. This event is well rounded with fun and services including a live DJ providing music, inflatable jumpy houses, dental screenings provided by Delta Dental, along with the Sherrif Department’s rock and food.
“We could not do what we do without volunteers. Twenty to twenty-five people have bagged the supplies, and Saturday about 75 volunteers will help,” says Brown.
Brown further explained, although Project Fresh Start is a B.R.A.V.E. event, it’s because of the support of the community and local sponsors they are able to provide the event and service so many youths. Sponsors that help make the event possible include Pine Bluff Convention Center, WalMart, Simmons Bank, Pine Bluff School District, Judge Earnest Brown, Novel T’s, First Presbyterian Church, and Super 1 Foods.
B.R.A.V.E. is an acronym for Banishing Racial Aninimoty Vigorously Everywhere, is a chapter of the International Association of Professional Fire Fighters, and is one of two chapters in the state of Arkansas.
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