MD Johnson Foundation will host Back to School event Saturday

Published 4:36 pm Friday, July 29, 2022

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The Michael David Johnson Foundation will hold its annual Back to School Giveaway at the YMCA, 1 YMCA Drive, in Selma from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Foundation Treasurer Thomasene Johnson said while the annual event typically focuses on families as a whole, this particular iteration of the event, entitled “Fall into Fitness,” will emphasize children’s health and wellness.

“We’re focusing on getting the kids to understand that they can be fit and have some fun as well,” she said. “We have planned a lot of games and physical activities for them to do. We have water slides. We’re going to feed them. We have a game room. We have basketball. We just have a lot of physical activities planned for them because we want them to know they need to do more than play with their phones, iPads and things they’d only have to use their thumbs to work.”

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Johnson said this emphasis was derived from one of the missions of the foundation – to help fight diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

“So many of our kids now are overweight, and they’re already facing these issues at young ages,” she said. “We want to be able to reach some of them, and they understand that, in order to be healthy, you’ve got to do some kind of exercise or some kind of physical activity.”

She said participants are encouraged to complete at least three activities during the event and added the event is open to children of all ages.

“We’re expecting a very good crowd,” Johnson said. “We are planning for 500, but in the past, we’ve had as many as 800. We’ll see. This is still pandemic times, so we’ll just see. We’ve done a good bit to get the word out …

“Hopefully, we’ll have people come from all over, you know, all the neighboring places like Uniontown and places like that. It’s first-come, first-serve. We’ll feed everybody, but we do want to focus mostly on the kids.”

Among the items being given away to the children are backpacks and treats, but Johnson kept some of the details of the event close to the vest.

“I’m not going to tell you everything,” she said with a chuckle. “Because we d want the kids to really be surprised and just be happy to be there.”

Johnson said she recommended the children bring towels and swimming attire for the event.

“They love the water slides,” she said. “We have three of them this year, so we have prepared for a big number of people.”

Event participants will be asked to wear masks, and Johnson said hand sanitizer and masks would be available at the event.

“We just want to encourage safety and social distancing,” she said. “We are taking the precautions, because like I said, it’s still out there. It’s not going away.”