THOMSON, Ga. (WJBF) – Hundreds of students in McDuffie County geared up for the upcoming school year. They joined their parents and the rest of the community at the 14th Annual Coolie Myrick Back to School Drive at Pitts Street Park in Thomson. The event allowed families to enjoy a meal, play games, connect with local organizations and of course, get a bookbag full of supplies.
Founder Willie Coolie Myrick told NewsChannel 6 the event has grown in the past few years along with the needs of the people in Thomson.
“The need for it is critical. We went through the COVID era. A lot of people were out of work. We just wanted to fill in the gap the best way we can,” Myrick said adding that his research showed that McDuffie County is one of the poorest counties in the state of Georgia.
“We prepare to serve 500 students every year. We have 500 packages. If we give out the 500, then they come see myself, Mr. Coolie or Ms. Val Marshal and we give it from there,” Usry-Wilson said.
The event offered health checks and face masks as well.
Myrick added that he grew up across the street from Pitts Street Park and he gives back because he knew how much his mother needed when he was a kid, yet there were no resources available. It’s his first Back to School Drive, named in his honor, in a decade after being incarcerated.