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Quarterback leads backpack drive

A local football star’s latest drive is to help students get ready for back to school.

     The Back to School Supply Drive will take place Sunday at 2 p.m. at City Park on Hartman Street behind Lipsey School.

     Former Brookhaven High School standout and current Tri-County Heroes quarterback Jimmie Johns said that it was his own experience as a student that inspired the idea.

     “I wanted to start this because I didn’t have what I need when I was going to school,” said Johns. “I felt like a real student when I got a backpack. I want to use what I’m blessed with to help others.”

     The event Sunday will feature a giveaway of 125 backpacks that already have school supplies in them. Other highlights for the day include sack races, food, a three-on-three basketball tournament and other activities.

     “It’s going to be really big,” said Johns. “Teams are coming from as far away as McComb and Jackson to play basketball. We want to do something for the kids to end the summer and start the school year off right. Everyone is invited.”

     On Tuesday, Hot Shots Barbershop and Mississippi Divas will be giving free haircuts and styling to children in need at Brookhaven Barber College. Organizers asked that all children come with their hair washed and dried.

     Johns said they were able to raise the $2,500 needed for the backpacks in about a week and were very impressed with the amount of support they received.

     “We received donations from 40 sponsors, and that was just great to see the community come together behind this,” said Johns. “The city saw it was needed.”

     The backpacks came from a company in Oklahoma that specializes in school supplies for those in need.

     To sign up to get a backpack, go to Hot Shots Barbershop, participating local churches or Brookhaven Barber College. Registration ends Friday evening.

     Johns said he hopes the school supplies giveaway reaches the children and drives them to perform better in school.

     “We’d like to see a Hero of the Month started in the Brookhaven Schools for students that have shown improvement to motivate them and keep them in school,” he said.

     The Tri-County Heroes were at the center of the organization for the event and also donated to help make it possible. The drive was important to the Heroes because it hit so close to home, said Johns.

     “All of us work in the community and make our living here,” he said. “So we wanted to give back.”