POWDER SPRINGS — At Thurman Springs Park Saturday afternoon, a pair of local churches teamed up to equip city students for their return to school. 

More than 1,000 people had registered before the event began, according to organizers, and another 200-plus who hadn't were also able to grab backpacks and supplies after stumbling on the bash, which featured bounce houses for the kids, food trucks and live music. 

Joel Lanier, minister of modern worship at First Baptist Church of Powder Springs, said his church had organized back-to-school bashes for the past decade-plus. This year's collaboration began when Linked UP Church, which had chosen the park as the location of their own annual back-to-school giveaway, asked First Baptist for permission to use their nearby parking lot.

"When they called, we said 'Sure, what are you using it for?'" Lanier said. "And when they told us, 'To help the community kids get ready to get back to school,' we just jumped at the opportunity to partner with them to do it together."

Nehemiah Ray, of Linked UP Church, said his church had been holding a similar event since the church's inception about five years ago.

"You all may be First Baptist, we might be nondenominational, but how can we come to serve the community?" Ray said, talking about the event's inception.

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