Hair was cut and braided, fun games were enjoyed and over 200 backpacks full of school supplies were given away at Saturday’s annual Back 2 School Giveaway in Boutte.
The event was a collaboration between Brandy Jacobs’ Afro L’Amour and Kajuan Smith’s Wolly Events. The two St. Charles Parish business owners have each hosted their own respective back to school events for several years – Jacobs’ for four and Smith for seven – and combined their efforts to make for a bigger event with more positive outreach for the community. The event was held at Bees Memorable Events and found success despite some early impact from the rain.
The skies cleared and a fun time was had for attendees and the event’s planners alike.
“When you see those smiles on the kids’ faces, it just makes you feel so good,” said Smith. “I love doing this, but the thing about this event is that it takes a whole village. Brandi did a great job – she was amazing. She had over 50 kids registered for braids and haircuts, and that’s all her. And then so many people pitched in to make this happen, and I want to thank everyone who did just that.”
Students were able to get their hair braided and cut, but also enjoy snowballs, a video game truck, hot dogs and refreshments.
Notebooks, journals, folders, rulers and markers were included among the supplies included in each book bag. Some students received uniforms, coats and jackets as well. And each student received a hygiene bag filled with self-care products. DJ Buster Baxter was on hand to provide the day’s musical soundtrack.
“We brought in the game truck … the girls are getting their hair braided, but the guys really had nothing to do after getting a haircut. So why not get a game truck?” Smith said. “One of my good friends owns one. Everyone had a real good time.
“It’s something that helps a lot of people out. You get your haircuts right before school, you’ve gotta get your uniforms … it’s just a lift for people in the community, and we do this to try to help each other out.”
Braiders and Barbers at the event included Afro L’Amour Da Braid Contractor, Jazzified By Jazz (Jasmine Strickland), Keke Braided Me (KeAundra Lockett), Lola Tae Vision (Hartel Seymore), CUTS BY T, (Teddy Roche), Unique Effects 2 Dye 4 (Jasmine Morgan), NeeDaBraidslayer (Anita Rhines) and Gean Washington.
Co-sponsors of the event included Helping Hands, Bees Memorable Events, Lili’s Beauty Supply, CSL Plasma, Precious Singleton, Angie Singleton, Dwayne LaGrange, WEMADE, OneLove, Sweet Magnolia Ice, Taste of New Orleans Snack Truck, Shanna Marshall and Deante Arts. Jacobs and Smith credited a host of volunteers and donors for making the day possible.