Cassandra Lewis-Liles smiled as she watched kids carry backpacks stuffed with school supplies.
With the help of Refuge Temple and the 14th Masonic District, Solomon’s Boys II Men Foundation hosted the “Clinton Community Back To School Bash” at Royal Lane Park. During the event, 200 backpacks with school supplies inside were distributed.
The Solomon’s Boys II Men Foundation was created in memory of Lewis-Likes son, Solomon Hickmond. In 2016, during Hurricane Matthew, the Garland resident died in a single-vehicle accident on Old Mintz Highway.
“He loved kids,” Lewis-Liles said about her son, who died at the age of 30.
Organizers said they want to continue to have positive impacts on youths in the community through the 501(c)(3) foundation. Before the back to school bash, scholarships were awarded to seniors in his honor. The next fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 7, with funds going toward the foundation and scholarships for students in Sampson County.
“With all of the negativity going on in the world, we want to be that beacon of light for the kids,” she said.
Lewis-Liles said the support made possible by members of all three organizations collaborating together was overwhelming in a positive way. The idea was sparked by Shawn Ford, a member of the 14th Masonic District. Latoya Williamson of Refuge Temple was also a major contributor. A prayer session for students returning back to school was also held.
“It was a huge success,” she said. “I want to thank everyone who helped give out backpacks.”
The event featuring community members from all over Sampson County also featured activities such as a bouncy house, face painting, and bingo. More than 300 people received meals thanks to organizers. Watermelons were donated by Straw Hat Farms of Turkey. Lewis-Liles said the fellowship was another important part of the event.
“A lot of people haven’t seen each other in a while,” she said.
For more information about the Solomon’s Boys II Men Foundation or donation opportunities, contact Lewis-Liles at 910-568-8037.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.