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Mothers In Action Celebrates Their 22nd Annual Back to School Health Fair
By Khari Jones, Jr., Contributing Writer
Published August 20, 2020

Council Curren D. Price Jr., places boxes of school supplies in a family’s vehicle.

Mothers In Action (MIA) was back at it, serving the community giving out over 1000 backpacks and 400 health bags to help and educate local community members. They celebrated their 22nd Annual Back to School Health Fair at Exposition Park this past weekend.

Everyone who participated in the drive-thru was given information on the Census 2020, health, dental hygiene, lead poisoning, available health service locations, and places where they could get free COVID-19 testing. Kids received fully stuffed backpacks, Taste of Soul t-shirts, bicycle helmets/slap bracelets & related activity books donated by CHP, fresh fruit and veggies, water bottles, PPE supplies, socks, fun activities and much more. It is a difficult time for many families in the community, but giving back is rewarding for the organizations that participated in the event. The energetic and friendly volunteers of MIA made the community feel comfortable and welcomed them with open arms.

Long line of families waiting to be served school supplies.

MIA President Tracy Mitchell stated they received unwavering support from the community, and one of their goals is make sure kids are equipped with the tools they need to start a successful school year. Residents in South L.A. registered to receive supplies as soon as the sign-up link was available. Although MIA had to turn down many people due to the high volume of sign-ups, Mitchell was thrilled and thankful for MIA’s village of sponsors, community partners and volunteers.

In the Black and Brown community, there are many health disparities, and a lot of people do not have health insurance, says Mitchell. MIA brought organizations and information that provided details for free or no-cost coverage.

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In memory of Mitchell’s late Mother, the founder of MIA, Brenda Marsh-Mitchell, they distribute their first 100 backpacks each year, for the last 6 years, to First AME Church for their foster care youth in honor of her passing and life of service.

Mothers In Action President Tracy Mitchell and The Goddess Group.

“My mother was the founder of Mothers In Action, and she understood that children fail because they can’t hear, they can’t see, and don’t have the resources to have a successful school year. So, she started this annual health fair & School supply giveaway 22 years ago,” said Mitchell.”

Councilmember Curren Price, Jr. of the New 9th said that providing some assistance to families and kids is very important, especially as they look at them going back to school.

Mothers In Action volunteers giving away book bags to the community.

“We want to make sure our community is not left behind, so I’m working with my colleagues, representatives, and private sectors to make sure that in South L.A., kids not only have the hardware and notebooks but also access to the internet.”

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas acknowledged the contributions of M.I.A., “They are going to bless 1000 people today. This is what it means to build a community. Mothers in Action has done this over and over and over again.” He is proud to be a consistent supporter of their efforts. Ridley-Thomas said they are making an investment in the communities and are trying to support families. “You matter, you count, you are important, that’s what this is all about. This is a very hard time for people. Mothers In Action and all that have made this happen have refused to step back; they have stepped forward in the interest of helping people have a higher quality of life.”

The Goddess Group brought nine girls who were ecstatic to help and give back to the community. Their young, exuberant energy contributed to making the giveaway a success. In the scorching heat, the Goddess Group served community members and were thankful for Mitchell.

Brotherhood Crusade, who has been serving the community 52 years, was a proud sponsor. They brought Chris Paul Family Foundation, Outdoor Products Fieldline Pro Series and Urbane Cafe to the table, who served healthy, delicious boxed lunches for the sponsors, and volunteers, who served the community. Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson of (CD8), also donated and supported this event to show his support to advance the community’s health and education.

Mitchell was extremely thankful for her sponsors and all of the elected officials who continuously support MIA. Blue Shield Promise Health Plan was a presenting sponsor as well.

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“We have a lot of health entities here because this event is a health fair first and foremost,” said Mitchell. “Blue Shield also provided equipment on Friday and the day of the event so volunteers could stuff 1,000 backpacks and 400 information bags.

She continued, “Children’s Dental donated 1000 dental kits for every bag; Coach 4 Kids donated backpacks and toothbrushes; Kaiser provided monetary support,  and all of the health entities including Childhood Lead Poisoning provided valuable health information and recyclable bags.”

Mitchell also mentioned Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Councilmen Price, Herb J. Wesson (CD10), Harris-Dawson, and Supervisor Ridley-Thomas of the 2nd District.

“They helped to provide backpacks, food, monetary resources, the equipment like the tables, canopies, chairs, and other things needed to make this happen. It’s a real community effort.”

 

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas taking pictures with community members.

Media partners: Bakewell Media, Los Angeles Sentinel and LA Watts Times run MIA ads in the paper and social media campaigns to contribute towards their outreach in the community. Chase, LA COE, LA Sanitation, LA Conservation Corps, Metro, SCLC, OEPM, Everpark, RFP Insurance, Sandra Evers Manly, Yvonne Wheeler, Sharon Polk,  Jannie McKinney, Janet Randolph, Patrick Muhammad,  Bree’s Helping Hands, Right Time Rooter, Marviana Jones, Southern Missionary Baptist Church  and The McClain Family were big contributors to the event as well.

Law Enforcement agencies from California Highway Patrol, LAPD South Traffic, LAPD Southwest, Oscar Joel Bryant Foundation were represented, volunteered and donated time and resources. LA Football Club & Banc of California Stadium allowed use of their facilities, ”Every tent you see here has played a big role in making today happen, not only today, but for many of the 22 years,” said Mitchell. “Our village is strong and we are so appreciative of each member of our village.”

For more information about MIA, you can find them on Twitter and Facebook @Mothersinaction. You can email them at mothersinaction@inc.com. You can also contact them at (323) 290-0456.

(ALL PHOTOS BY ROBERT TORRENCE)

Categories: Education | Lifestyle | Local | News (Family)
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