New Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Calera hosts back to school giveaway

Published 1:46 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2023

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

CALERA – New Mt. Moriah Baptist Church hosted a Back to School Supplies Giveaway on Sunday, Aug. 6 presented by Southern Xpress LLC and 77 Kids Foundation.

The 77 Kids Foundation, in partnership with Southern Xpress LLC and with help from several sponsors in the local community, successfully provided an estimated 100 backpacks and school supplies to community kids in need.

“The turnout was great,” said Byron De’Vinner, founder of the 77 Kids Foundation and organizer of the event. “They had youth day at church, getting (students/supplies) ready for the kids going back to school this week in Shelby County Schools. It was really amazing to see all the smiling faces on the young kids, and on some middle and high-school kids as well but especially the little young kids. Being able to get them supplies that they need, being able to bless them, (is great) because with the way things are right now, everything (prices) is going up.”

De’Vinner started the 77 Kids Foundation four years ago with the mission of providing opportunities for youth development in the southeastern United States, with a focus in community and sports involvement. In tandem with Southern Xpress LLC, which De’Vinner began 14 years ago, the two groups are now approaching the conclusion of the third year where they have presented such supply giveaways.

“I just want to be able to be a person that can give back to the community where I grew up at, in Calera,” De’Vinner said. “(I want to) give back to these kids out here, to help these parents during these times of need.”

With two giveaways already completed, one in Jefferson County and the one in Calera finding success, there is still one more to go in Talladega County on Sunday, Aug. 13 before the school year begins. The two organizations will also be performing other giveaways and donations directly at local schools, such as an event held at Calera Elementary School on Monday, Aug. 7.

“We have a goal of giving out roughly 800 backpacks and school supplies a year through our non-profit and LLC,” De’Vinner said. “We were able to service the Calera community with roughly about 100 backpacks and school supplies yesterday (Aug. 6) to every kid. Every kid that came through there got school supplies and backpacks.”

Not to be confused with a trucking company of the same name, Southern Xpress LLC is a 7-on-7 travel football organization that aims to benefit kids from the age of 13 until the end of high school. The team has featured such local stars as Tony Mitchell and Kobe Prentice of the University of Alabama, as well as Omari Kelly for Auburn University.

“I could tell these kids here were so excited to get back in the classroom,” De’Vinner said.

Shelby County Schools will begin their new year on Thursday, Aug. 10.