Updated:HENRY COUNTY, Ga. —
Families who live in more than a dozen metro counties are preparing for the first day of school, after receiving free supplies and other services to help ensure the year kicks off to a good start.
A Stockbridge church opened its doors to about 450 people on Saturday to pick up backpacks, pencils, paper and other essentials.
Students in the city of Atlanta, Coweta, Douglas, Gwinnett and Henry counties are among those who will head back to school on Monday. With the first day around the corner, participants of the weekend initiative said they wanted to show their support to those families through the back to school giveaway.
"It's needed. We're going through tough times right now," said the Rev. Daniel Edwards, of Greater New Hope Christian Assembly.
Channel 2's own Mark Winne joined volunteers, helping distribute more than 200 backpacks while barbers provided children with free haircuts.
"My favorite part is having fun with all these kids here," said third-grader Rasiyah Smith.
One of the biggest highlights for some of the other attendees was a surprise visit from Atlanta rapper Clifford "T.I." Harris.
Harris volunteered, posed for pictures, all in an effort to give back.
"It's important to come here and interact with the people and try and fill those voids and those services that need to be taken care of," Harris said.
At the end of the event, students like Andre Fox appeared to be not only ready, but eager to start the school year.
"It's very important to me," the fourth grader said. "I want to hurry up and go to school quickly."
Channel 2's Erin Coleman contributed to this report. Follow her on Twitter @erincolemanwsb