The Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry (BEAM), a Jacksonville Beach-based organization serving low income residents, held its 25th annual Back to School with BEAM event on Saturday, Aug. 4 at Beach Church.
The event offered Beaches families in need a chance to take home school supplies, clothes, footwear and other items in preparation for the upcoming school year. Attendees also enjoyed free snacks, hot dogs, fruits, drinks and more
“We do this every year,” said John Mullins, a volunteer at the event and the secretary/scribe of the Beaches Exchange Club. “We buy, prepare, distribute probably about 1,000 hot dogs to the kids and parents.”
Mullins noted that the event makes a significant impact on underprivileged members of the community.
"There's a means test on the front end," he revealed. "So, people who are in here need to be here. BEAM has done an excellent job."
Mullins said the ministry purchased backpacks and school supplies in bulk with donations of gently used clothing, underwear and shoes.
According to BEAM’s website, the 1994 Back to School with BEAM event featured 30 volunteers and 250 children in the old fellowship hall at Beach Church (formerly Beach United Methodist Church). In 2018, Mullins said those numbers have risen tremendously.
"Over the last few years, the number (of event goers) has been fairly constant," he noted. "Somewhere around 950 to 1,100 every year."
Event sponsors included Mary Carter Financial Services, the Deerwood and Ponte Vedra Rotary Clubs, Beach Church, individuals and other civic and faith community groups.
For more information on BEAM, visit .