The Salvation Army’s Back to School Giveaway Event Leaves a Lasting Impact

Aug 22, 2023 | by Eric Short

Sevierville, TN – The heartwarming spirit of community and compassion reached its pinnacle on Saturday, August 5, as The Salvation Army of Sevier and Cocke Counties hosted its annual Back to School Giveaway event. A celebration of unity and generosity, the event served as a beacon of hope for local children, ensuring they start the school year equipped for success.

This year’s journey began on July 22 with the ‘Stuff the Bus’ event held at the Sevierville Walmart, where the community rallied together to contribute school supplies for children facing economic challenges. Walmart, the gracious host of the event, facilitated a wave of donations that showcased the community’s commitment to uplifting its youngest members.

A heartfelt thank you goes to Walmart for enabling the ‘Stuff the Bus’ event, a platform that illuminated the compassion and empathy ingrained in the Sevier and Cocke County communities. The devoted efforts of The Salvation Army’s staff and volunteers transformed these contributions into backpacks brimming with essential school supplies, symbolizing the community’s collective dedication to nurturing its future leaders.

The culmination of these efforts took place on August 5 at First Baptist Church in Sevierville, where families with children and proof of residence gathered to receive the backpacks. The joy radiating from the children’s faces as they held their new backpacks spoke volumes about the event’s impact. It was a testament to the power of community collaboration and the belief that every child deserves a chance to thrive. In all, The Salvation Army was able to provide 417 children with a backpack full of school supplies.

Lieutenant Rashad Poole, Salvation Army Corps Officer in Sevierville, summed up the event’s essence, stating, “Our Back to School Giveaway is about more than just school supplies. It’s about showing these children that they are valued and supported by their community.”

This event is just one facet of The Salvation Army’s comprehensive youth-focused initiatives. Beyond the Back to School Giveaway, programs like ‘Club Red Shield,’ an after-school learning center for youth and teens, and the provision of summer camp experiences at Camp Paradise Valley, underscore the organization’s commitment to nurturing young minds from low to middle-income families.

These efforts align with The Salvation Army’s ethos of compassion and service. By investing in the education and development of the youth, the organization is creating a ripple effect of positive change. Recognizing that empowering young minds is a strategic move toward breaking cycles of poverty and shaping a brighter future for the community, these initiatives epitomize The Salvation Army’s mission to foster an environment where every child’s potential is realized.

As the echoes of this year’s Back to School Giveaway continue to reverberate, they serve as a reminder that a community united in compassion can create transformative change, one backpack at a time.

To find out more about The Salvation Army in Sevier and Cocke Counties, including how to donate or volunteer, please visit, or call (865) 908-4010.

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