Nonprofit hosts back-to-school event in Kinston

Published: Aug. 14, 2021 at 7:18 PM EDT
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KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) - Kinston Teens and NC Counts partnered for a back-to-school event at Southeast Elementary School on Saturday.

The organizations gave away school supplies, bookbags, fresh food and provided COVID-19 vaccinations to those in the neighboring housing projects of east Kinston.

“Southeast is a fixture of our community,” Chris Suggs said. “It’s in the heart of east Kinston surrounded by three of our housing projects. It’s in walking distance for some many people too.”

Suggs, who organized the event and is CEO of Kinston Teens, said events like this are often held away from the city.

“When there are resources available to the community, they’re way across town, so we really wanted to meet people right in the heart of their neighborhood,” Suggs said.

Kyle Brazile, of NC Counts, said people lined up for the event.

“I got here at 7:30 and there was already a car lined up and the event wasn’t supposed to start until 10,” Brazile said.

Those who received vaccinations at the event received $100 cash cards that were a part of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services effort to increase vaccination rates in low percentage counties.

Kinston Teens has worked with NC Counts Coalition previously to do organizing and advocacy around the 2020 Census in Kinston.

This spring, the organization launched Healthier Together, a public-private partnership with the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services focused on increasing vaccine access and health equity amongst historically marginalized populations.

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