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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

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Summerpalooza Gives Free Food & School Supplies to Over 3,000 People

Summerpalooza Gives Free Food & School Supplies to Over 3,000 People

by James Coulter

More than 3,000 Lakeland locals received free groceries, school supplies, and other items during the annual Summerpaloozaevent hosted by New Beginnings High School (NBHS).

On Saturday, hundreds of cars lined up as early as 7 a.m. outside the RP Funding Center in Lakeland to receive free supplies from local businesses and organizations, including Walgreens, Citrus Connection, and the Lakeland Police Department.

For the past several years, NBHS has hosted the annual charity event to give back to the families and children in the local community. Unfortunately, their event was postponed earlier this month due to these uncertain times.

To help protect public health and safety during the ongoing pandemic, this year’s Summerpalooza was hosted as a drive-through event. Attendees registered for the event beforehand and drove through the RP Funding Center parking lot to receive their items.

Ashlee Wright, CEO of NBHS, owes the success for this event and previous years on her dedicated staff and volunteers. Without them working tirelessly, especially during these uncertain times, none of this would have been possible, she said.

“So it is exciting to be out on this beautiful day servicing the community of Polk County,” she said. “I am amazed at the Polk County community, not only at the volunteers who have volunteered their time, as well as the new beginning staff who have come out to help, but also the community as a whole.”

Summerpalooza was hosted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. However, hundreds of cars lined up as early as 7 a.m. waiting for the event to open to the public. Overall, the turnout was phenomenal, and NBHS stepped up to the plate to assist people in their local community.

“Our donors are just the backbone of this event,” Wright said.“If it were not for them who make this event a reality, we would not be here, so for them, much praise.”

Dr. Stephen Hinson has served as a principal for 14 years. This was his first year serving at NBHS, and his first year participating in Summerpalooza. He appreciated being able to assist with such a tremendous service to the local community, and he was impressed by the overall turnout, especially during these uncertain times.

“I think this was a great event, that we are able to give back to the community,” he said. “We have hundreds of cars running through. We are trying to be as COVID friendly as we can, and safe as we can, to be able to provide this service to the community. So to give back to such an awesome feeling, especially as an educator for so long. So we are super excited about that.”

Dr. Hinson was most pleased at the efficiency of the event. With so many volunteers giving their time to provide local families and children with free groceries and school supplies, the overall endeavor proved NBHS to be a shining exemplar for the local community.

“I think it was very successful,” he said. “The vision of Ms. Wright, wanting to be part of the community. As an educator, we are about wanting to be part of the community. That is why we are community based, that is why we support education to support the community and give back all we can, to serve as leaders.”

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