10th Annual Back to School BackPack Giveaway at Palmetto Boys & Girls Club


BY MWEZI DAKE write4living@yahoo.com

The 10th Annual Back Pack Give Away and night of Community Fun was celebrated at the Palmetto Boys & Girls Club in Palmetto. The annual event began with the compassion and vision of D. Bernard Woodie who saw the need in the community and rose to meet it. “Woodie” as he is known to the community has been organizing and collaborating with Willie Cooper, Director at the Palmetto Boys & Girls Club and the Boys & Girls Club organization to hold the annual event at the Palmetto Club as well as the Holiday turkey, food and toy give away each year. This year back packs and school supplies were given out to almost 700 children to begin their school year. The event began at 7pm but the community began arriving long before then. Many community businesses were in attendance to support and provide hot dogs, chicken wings, popcorn, soda and water provided by Coca-Cola. Bill Lee Jr. and his racing team brought their racing cars and presented Bill Lee III, the 3 year old son of Lee and his mini race car dubbed, “The Earthquake” which the toddler races and won his first race at the age of 30 months, according to his proud father. Lee Sr. races his car, Palmetto Police Department and his brother, Wesley Lee races a United Way car. Lee Sr. said the event is a way to support and interact with the community and to give back. Lee owns an auto repair shop located at 4706 US 41 N. in Palmetto. Palmetto Police Officers, Sgt. Duane Kauffman and Officer N. Ligman said they attend the event each year and consider it a privilege to be a part of the event.

Additional sponsors were Boxing Champion, China Smith, Liberty Tax Services, 1-800Ask- Gary, Cheri Grabau of Vienna & Naples Inc., Coca-Cola, Frank Underwood, Kim Haddon, Wing House and many individuals within the community giving without asking for recognition. Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover-Bryant , Commissioner Jonathon Davis, John Colon, James Hird; Principal of Horizons Academy and Omar Edwards of MTC, as well as representatives from the Pittsburg Pirates attended and set up booths to give away prizes and other goodies to families.

Woodie stated, “ This is our 10th anniversary and I give G-d all the credit for it. I liken life to this saying to explain why I do this, “One day you can be on top of the world and the next day the world may be on top of you. I couldn’t do these events without the generous help of the sponsors, giving people in the community and the volunteers.” Woodie said they planned to give out 500 turkeys, produce and food at the holidays and called out to the community to begin to give donations now, stating “If 10,000 people donate $1.00 each we can reach so many this holiday season without giving becoming a burden and their donation would relieve a burden many families face.” Call Woodie at: (941) 237-1770 for more information on to donate and help. Make checks out to Boys & Girls Club and mail to: D. Bernard Woodie, P.O. Box 1707, Palmetto, Florida 34221