Thirty local students from the YMCA of Middle Tennessee started their back-to-school shopping on Sunday thanks to a former Tennessee Vol.
Academy Sports and Outdoors and Derek Barnett teamed up to provide the students with $150 gift cards for their shopping spree in Franklin.
"I love to be around young kids because you get to see their faces. They're all happy and smiling and joyful, and I'm just very lucky to be in a position to be able to help and give back," Barnett said.
Barnett, who currently plays for the Philadelphia Eagles, returned to Middle Tennessee for the annual event.
He walked through the aisles and helped the children pick out apparel, footwear, backpacks, and more to kick off the new school year.
Parents said this shopping spree has helped them out financially.
Santana Russell whose son is getting ready to go into the 5th grade at Margaret Allen Middle School said her son enjoyed the shopping spree.
"This helps out a lot. It saves a lot of time because of course, everybody is always rushing at the last minute to get school shopping, to get backpacks and stuff. I don’t have to go shopping until it’s time to go for paper and pencils and stuff like that so this saves a lot of time. It’s a lot of help and we thank them a lot, we really do,” Russell said.
This is the program’s ninth year and it has grown to include over 100 similar events, benefiting over 3,000 kids throughout the Southeast and Midwest U.S.