By Bobby Bryant, Editor,

Tommy Douglas is a truck driver, but this was not his usual delivery.

When he stopped in Society Hill a couple of weeks ago, he brought backpacks for students.

Seventy-five backpacks, to be exact. Enough for about half the students at Rosenwald Elementary/Middle School.

Putting out the backpacks donated by Tommy Douglas (at right in photo at right). Photos courtesy of Tommy Douglas

Douglas, 36, a Society Hill native who now lives in Columbia, had wanted to do something like this for his hometown for a while. “I’d been wanting to do (something), but I couldn’t afford to do it,” he said.

He tried to make this happen last year, but the funds weren’t there. This year, they were, and so he began buying up backpacks – not all at once, but a few here, a few there. In lots of different colors.

Once he’d accumulated 75 book bags, he dropped them off at Rosenwald, the school he had attended as a kid. Classes hadn’t resumed yet, but children and parents were there for fall registration.

“Everybody was so excited,” Douglas said. “I got great feedback. I do appreciate the love I got. . . . That was awesome, because they needed it.”

School staff members laid out the backpacks on tables so students would be able to pick their own.

When he was a Rosenwald student, Douglas said, sometimes money was tight. “Sometimes, I couldn’t get a book bag (for school),” he said. “But we were always taught to be rich in your heart.”

“I’m glad I finally got a chance to do (this),” Douglas said. “You never forget those who hold out a helping hand.”

Author: Rachel Howell

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