Volunteers work to set up giveaway to help Blount County students in need

MARYVILLE (WATE) – With back to school just around the corner, many parents in our area are scrambling to get everything they need for their children this year.

To help fill the need, there is an annual event called Helping Hands taking place at Heritage High School Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Around 500 volunteers are working to make this possible.

A hot and humid day didn’t stop Ron Wilson with Isaiah 58 Project from helping get 600 boxes of food ready to donate.

“If you’re part of any church, you have a heart to help and through a heart of helping and serving the community. That’s why I’m sweating and we’re all sweating in making this happen for Helping Hands and just doing what we feel led to do in the community,” Wilson said.

Terry McCoy started the event eight years ago. This year, they’re expecting to help nearly 7,000 families by handing out boxes of food, backpacks, school supplies and 1,300 gift cards to Shoe Carnival so children can get new shoes. Students will also have the opportunity to get their teeth cleaned and their hair cut, all for free.

“There are so many success stories out of this. People that have come into the church and gotten saved, gotten their lives changed and some people just need a little help up. It’s life changing for some folks,” McCoy said.

“The kids’ expressions when you put a box of food in the car – they don’t know what’s going on but they remember it forever,” Wilson said.

There will also be bicycle giveaways, and free entertainment including an air show and inflatables. McCoy says $90,000 was raised this year to help make this event possible.

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