SYLACAUGA -- More than 500 students received backpacks filled with school supplies Saturday, in an annual drive sponsored by Sylacauga’s Promise.

The organization, part of the Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement, accepted donations of supplies and cash, and worked with the Rushing Springs District Association to present a pep rally of sorts for the start of the new school year.

“First of all, I have to say kudos and hats off to the people who made this possible,” said Margaret Morton, executive director of SAFE. “Kathy Landers did a tremendous job of making this happen.”

Morton thanked the Rushing Springs District Association for sponsoring a walking parade through downtown with an anti-bullying message, along with Mayor Doug Murphree and the Sylacauga Police Department for their roles in putting on the parade.

“We served more than 500 children Saturday. That means 500-plus children will go to school ready.”

Morton said the backpacks were geared specifically toward grade levels from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, so each one had age-appropriate school supplies.

Area teachers started back to work this week. Students will start back in Talladega County and Pell City schools this Thursday, and in Sylacauga and Talladega city schools Monday.

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