For the second year, a local drive-in event will bring a horde of classic cars and trucks to downtown Clinton while benefiting a drug awareness and prevention program for Sampson County middle schoolers.
The second-annual “Drive In to Drive Out Drugs” event will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 26, in downtown Clinton and at the Clinton City Market on Lisbon Street. Organizers said the Drive-In will be a family-friendly event featuring motorcycles, classic cars and trucks, and business and emergency service vehicles. There will also be a dunking booth and 50/50 drawing to raise additional funds for the Sampson County Meth Task Force-sponsored “Stay on Track” program.
“We are excited to bring this event to downtown Clinton for its second year. We look forward to seeing downtown bustling that evening with people, vehicles, fellowship and nostalgia,” said Audrey Whetten, planner with the Clinton-Sampson Planning Department. “We hope this will once again be a great springtime event as well as a successful fundraiser for the invaluable work of the Sampson County Meth Task Force.”
The “Stay on Track” drug awareness and prevention program highlights drug awareness education and drug use prevention in middle schools across Sampson County with the hope to ease the burden of suppression and intervention shouldered on the law enforcement side.
Building off the success of the inaugural event last April, the Clinton Main Street Program has again partnered with the Meth Task Force to put on the event, with all proceeds to be used toward expanding “Stay on Track.” Last year’s event raised more than $1,800 toward the effort.
At that time, committee members for the “Drive In” shared their hope that it might become a signature event for the city and the task force. J.W. Simmons, chairman of the Meth Task Force, said he was excited about the event, made possible with the help of strong community partnerships.
“Developing strategic partners like this brings about continuous positive results in our community and has positive long-term impacts,” Simmons remarked. “Addiction and its associated tragedies continue to destroy lives, families and communities. The Sampson County Meth Task Force is pleased to be part of this effort to enlighten, prevent and interdict the abuse of addictive substances. We must step forward now to make a difference in the lives of our children and grandchildren.”
Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. in the parking lot at the west end of the Sampson County Courthouse for motorcycles, cars, trucks and business vehicles. Emergency service vehicles will be able to park and register at the Clinton City Market on Lisbon Street. Registration is $20 per vehicle. Spectators are free.
Music at the event will be provided by Robert Stroud of the Boogie Shoes Network and Ronald Anderson of Praise Out Loud Ministries. Registrants and donors will receive a coupon for the evening of the event for a free beverage at several downtown businesses, many of which will be open late for shopping and dining.
Along with other community partners, residents and participants, committee members said they are grateful to Eastpointe for its support of the “Drive In.” A managed care organization addressing mental health issues in eastern North Carolina, Eastpointe has backed the event through financial support of billboards and staff time.
Ken Jones, director for Eastpointe, called Sampson leaders a “strong and cohesive group” committed to drug abuse prevention activities. The “Drive In” event was a great example of that, Jones noted.
“If this event saves one life, the benefit to the community is worth all of the effort,” Jones said. “The ripple effect of an active substance abuser impacts the community, family and individual in physical, emotional and economic ways. This prevention raises awareness of the problem and provides support to our community.”
Through participation in the event, Simmons said, people were assisting in an effort to stop the use of addictive substances and make a positive difference for the future. Pat Green, treasurer for the Sampson County Meth Task Force, seconded that, urging everyone to supporting a valuable program while seeing some classic vehicles and enjoying some fellowship with others.
“I hope many families will come out to enjoy a great night on the 26th,” Green said.
That is the ultimate goal, Clinton-Sampson planning director Mary Rose added.
“As partners, the Clinton Main Street Program and the Sampson County Meth Task Force are excited to bring the 2nd annual ‘Drive-In’ to downtown Clinton,” said Rose. “Our hope is that the citizens of Clinton and Sampson County will come downtown and be a part of this special event. This will hopefully be a pleasant evening for a good cause.”
For more information, please call 910-299-4904 or visit www.methdeath.org. Those wishing to make a tax-deductible donation to the Task Force should make their checks payable, and mail to: Sampson County Meth Task Force, P.O.Box 1105, Clinton, N.C. 28329. People can still be nominated for the dunking booth by calling Audrey Whetten at 910-299-4904.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.