Over 500 children from across the area became a little more prepared for the upcoming school year over the weekend. 

The annual Christian Community Outreach Back-to-School Celebration at the Calhoun Recreation Department was a big success, according to organizers. 

"We counted 554 children at this year's event," CCO founder and organizer Sherry Turner said. "With families, we had well over 1,000 people come through." 

In its fifth year now, the event has grown over the years, and especially for 2021, according to Turner. 

"We opened it up to pretty much all of Northwest Georgia," Turner said. "Two years ago we had about 300 kids and this year we nearly doubled that. We anticipated around 600, so we got close to that." 

The main focus of the celebration each year is handing out school supplies, but it's become much more than that. 

"First Fruit ministries came out and gave out boxes of food," said Turner, who added the event added a few extra super heroes for the kids to interact with this year. 

Also at this year's event were boxes of clothing, food, and live music. For Turner and her many dedicated volunteers from local churches and businesses, it's all bout seeing the process come to fruition and helping the children. 

"It's very overwhelming because during the whole planning process it's all the anticipation," Turner said. "But then when you get there and watch God move, and see all the people who were helped ... it makes it all worth it. When it's all over, sometimes you just have to sit there and cry."

As with any outreach program, now with this event in the books, it's on to the next. 

"We're already getting prepared for our Christmas event now and working on getting a date set for that," Turner said. 

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