Local grassroots organization supports schoolchildren | Community | Savannah News, Events, Restaurants, Music

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Blessings can take many forms, including stuffed book bags. To continually provide blessings to the community, a local nonprofit community organization, Blessings in a Bookbag, Inc., is organizing a fundraiser like never before. The fundraising event, Seersuckers, Stilettos and Stogies Day Party, will be held June 26 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Red Gates Farms. The organization released, Seersuckers, Stilettos and Stogies is their official party where the community is invited to hang out and enjoy food, drink and also an opportunity to network with other business owners and collaborate in the community. Tickets for the event are $ 50 in advance and they will be $ 65 at the door. All profits will be donated to the BIBB. “We’re southerners, so people have seersuckers and flax they’re just waiting to put on!” said Weslyn Mahogany Bowers, founder of Blessings in a Bookbag, Inc., widely known by her former radio personality name “Lady Mahogany”. Lady Mahogany said the BIBB holds a fundraiser every year, but due to the pandemic Blessings in a Bookbag has had to get creative and run two fundraisers to be even more effective. BIBB is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure that poor elementary school children are fed on weekends throughout the school year. This mission began with Lady Mahogany’s personal mission to be the one she needed when she was a teenager. The organization gathers proteins, fruits, vegetables, milk and non-perishable items and packs them in large, zippered gallon-sized bags. Then, on Fridays, they report to Otis J Brock III Elementary School throughout the school year and during the summer to distribute food to the students. The founder said that not only do students get food, they also get a smile, a hug, and some consistency in their lives because kids need all of these things. Lady Mahogany said she was born and raised here in Savannah, and attended what was then Bartow Elementary School, but what is now Otis J Brock III Elementary School, she recalls life experiences that were not favorable for a schoolgirl. “I remember having a meal in the cafeteria at Bartow Primary School on Friday morning at 11 am and not having any other meals until Monday morning when I returned to school for breakfast” , Bowers said. “I was the kid at the reception of the [BIBB] bag but there was no bag. “I understand what it’s like to be a child and not just need food to be satisfied. When you come back to school, you are not focused on food, you are focusing on survival and stability, and it becomes very difficult for a child. So since then I knew this was something my community needed. Lady Mahogany said the organization’s mission was very personal to her. “That’s why it’s so much like water for me to make it work,” Bowers said. “When you talk about a first-hand experience, it’s not hard to convince people that the need is strong. The founder said the initiative started when she returned to her childhood school. Because she knew there were a lot of children who shared her previous situation, she started going to grocery stores and spending her own money to fill bags and distribute them to school children from the trunk of her car. It all started with 25 bags until one day the headmaster of the primary school told him, “We know who you are and we know what you do. Let us help you, ”said Bowers. “This is how 25 bags have turned into 250 bags which have been distributed every week for over nine years. There were only 25 bags left for the first six months, but I couldn’t keep handing out 25 bags when I knew there were 50 kids who needed them, 75 kids who needed, 100 kids who needed it, ”Bowers said. Lady Mahogany said support for the organization comes from the community.

PHOTO WITH AUTHORIZATION OF BLESSINGS IN A BOOK BAG

School children are grateful for the contributions of Blessings in a Bookbag.

“Blessing in a Bookbag is a little different from other 501 (c) (3) s because the majority of them receive some type of government funding,” Bowers said. “We have been alive for 10 years and we have not received any funding from the government. We have been able to survive as a 100% grassroots organization, which means that our funding, volunteers and resources come directly from our community. The founder said the organization likes to tap into reciprocity when engaging with the community – we serve them and they serve us, she said. “We like to teach a helping hand, not a helping hand, so mutual support from the community is how we were able to support each other,” Bowers said. Lady Mahogany has asked the community to keep going out, showing their love and supporting the mission again at the upcoming Seersuckers, Stilettos and Stogies party. Next August, the BIBB will organize its 10th annual Back to School where donors, volunteers and supporters are needed. More information on this great celebration will be published. “Children are going to need more than ever this year because of the pandemic. I just know it, ”Bowers said.

Visit eventbrite.com/e/seersucker-stilettos-and-stoggies-day-party-tickets-156828493245 to purchase tickets for Seersuckers, Stilettos and Stogies Day Party. To support and / or contact Blessings in a Bookbag, Inc., email [email protected] or call 912-388-9102.


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