On August 2, 2017, La Porte came out in force to Rock the Block at The Civic Auditorium! The back to school rally and backpack and school supply distribution event was an idea Economist/Community Manager Steve Walters had been dreaming about for several years, and the event was a bigger success than he ever imagined.
American Licorice has been donating backpacks and school supplies to elementary students in the La Porte community for the past 6 years. The goal of the program is to help enrich the educational experience of the students by giving them the supplies necessary to succeed on the first day of school, while also relieving some of the financial burden parents at these elementary schools face. However, one problem American Licorice faced was reaching all elementary students in La Porte that were in need. The metric used to determine schools to donate has been free and reduced lunch data, but those suggested we stick with the same 3 or 4 schools every year.Knowing there were families at the other schools who would benefit from our donation, we used the framework from the Michigan Citywide Back to School rally we have participated in the last 3 years. With the help of great community partners, we created a back to school rally with our own Slicer spin.
A huge thank you to Joy Zigler of The La Porte Jaycees, Carey Garwood from Bethany Church and the amazing planning advisory committee for helping us execute our vision.
American Licorice donated over 900 K-6 backpacks at the event with another 275 middle school and high school backpacks donated by Door Village Church.This year in total ALC will donate 3,175 backpacks full of school supplies to students surrounding our two plants.
There are too many donors, volunteers and contributing organizations to name, but here are a few of my favorite highlights from the event:
- Free haircuts were donated by 6 generous stylists from Generations Hair Salon
- Free pizza to every guest was donated by the new La Porte Dominos
- Hot Dogs, chips and water were donated by Bethany Church
- The health department donated car booster seats
- 1,000 T-shirts were given away
- 1,200 bottles of water were donated by Family Express
I have used the word Rally a lot over the last few months planning the Rock the Block Event, but never truly appreciated how powerful the meaning behind its definition was. Yesterday's tremendous outpour of support from 26 community organizations, many businesses, La Porte school corporation and most importantly our students and families in La Porte was truly an amazing site to see and should be used as the image to define Rally going forward.
We can't wait to Rock The Block again next year!!!
Steve Walters – American Licorice Company -Economist/Community Manager