Free school supplies lured a crowd of about 1,500 to the Jackson Medical Mall on Saturday for the NAACP's annual education summit.
The community project is about more than pens and pencils. With singing and dancing, students prepared for the new school year at the summit.
The message: education is the key.
"Education is powerful," Mayor Harvey Johnson said. "The power is in your hands. It's your responsibility. Let's make sure we educate all of our children here in the city of Jackson."
The summit included a school supply giveaway, where 1,000 students walked away with backpacks. More than 1,500 families came for supplies, but only 1,000 were allowed to register for the bags.
Parents said they appreciate the help.
"Some people don't have like others, and I appreciate them doing this for us," Jennifer Brown said.
Local NAACP President Gus McCoy said he hopes the items boost attitudes for first day of school.
"If a child starts that first day of with paper and pencil and the things they need, it builds their self-esteem up and gives them a chance to have a good school year," he said. Candace Stutts said she'll push her children to stay in school.
"You should try teaching them to love school more so they can go to college and make more money," said parent Candace Stutts.
With supplies in hand, both students and parents left prepared to start the new school year.
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