J.C. Price picnic features food, fun and frogs

Leonard Hall, left, with the J.C. Price American Legion, and Sebrina Gaither, right (dressed in black), with Vashti Chapter No. 122 Order of the Eastern Star, fill bags with school supplies for children at the American Legion’s annual Labor Day celebration.
Leonard Hall, left, with the J.C. Price American Legion, and Sebrina Gaither, right (dressed in black), with Vashti Chapter No. 122 Order of the Eastern Star, fill bags with school supplies for children at the American Legion’s annual Labor Day celebration.

SALISBURY — A local American Legion post marked the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of a new school year with its annual Labor Day Picnic.

J.C. Price American Legion Post 107, located at 1433 Old Wilkesboro Road in Salisbury, held a cookout for the community and gave school supplies to local children on Monday.

Wayne Hill, an American Legion member, grinned as he left the celebration with his youngest grandson, 8-year-old Kylan Hill.

“I think the event turned out nice today,” Hill said. “The children seemed to enjoy themselves. As long as they’re happy and they get the school supplies they needed, I think we had a real good day.”

Twenty-two volunteers with the North Rowan High School JROTC helped out during the picnic, Lt. Col. Tyron Eason said.

“They fixed plates, prepared the food, played with the students, escorted the students and the elderly and served cookies,” Eason said. “I think it went well. There are kids everywhere.”

Mae Carroll, Post Commander, said she guesses there were at least 250 people at the picnic — judging by the 250 hot dogs that were prepared and served. They also enjoyed hamburgers, potato chips, chicken, Cheetos, sodas and tea.

After everyone had eaten, volunteers gave out 200 plastic bags with school supplies to local children.

Salisbury City Councilwoman Karen Alexander brought cookie trays for dessert. She spoke briefly to the gathered crowd, saying she supports housing assistance and revitalization efforts.

“Mae Carroll is a friend of mine,” she said. “We served about 15 years on the CDC (Community Development Corporation) in Salisbury.”

Afterward, she talked to community members and even joined some of them to dance “the Wobble.”

Shanikka Gadson, of Spencer, came to the celebration with a big group of her family, including her three children.

“I loved it. It’s awesome,” Gadson said. “Mae Carroll, and the whole crew, they’ve done an awesome thing.”

Her sister, Shakeena Gadson, brought her children as well.

Shakeena’s daughters, 8-year-old Jasmine and 7-year-old Jade, both said their favorite part of the afternoon was “dancing with the Sweet Frogs.” Two costumed frogs, named Cookie and Scoop, joined in the festivities as representatives of SweetFrog Frozen Yogurt in Salisbury.

Jasmine and Jade’s older sister, 13-year-old Destiny Gadson, said she enjoyed the celebration, too.

“It was great,” she said. “I liked it because everybody in the community comes together.”

They all held bags with several school supplies inside, including folders, notebooks, binders, pencils, crayons and glue sticks.

Carroll said the J.C. Price American Legion has been putting on a Labor Day picnic for about 25 years. She said the school supply giveaway is important to the local community.

“We are surrounded by three different projects with underprivileged children,” she said. “We do this every year with them to make sure they have the same head start as everyone else.”

American Legion members brought in some of the school supplies, and others were bought with $300 out of the group’s treasury. Still more were given by Vashti Chapter No. 122 Order of the Eastern Star.

Sebrina Gaither, a member of the order, said the donation is part of the group’s community service. She told the crowd a little about her organization and helped give out the supplies.

Also speaking was Lakai Brice, with Salisbury Parks and Recreation, who talked about activities and upcoming events at the Miller Center.

Carroll then shared information about a neighborhood group called West End Pride.

A controversial new state law requires people to show photo ID before they vote in elections. The West End Pride organization is planning to arrange trips in October to the local Department of Motor Vehicles office for community members to get photo identification.

Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.

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