CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) –An annual back-to-school event held Saturday in Conway provided school supplies and COVID-19 vaccines and tests to the community.

Kids got a clear backpack filled with pens, pencils, notebooks, paper and more. The event also featured music and activities for families and kids of all ages.

“Everything from backpacks to boosters at this back-to-school event because that’s what it’s going to take to get Horry County students ready and back in school,” said organizer Utocqua Grissett, the chairperson for Conway Stay Well and president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Incorporated’s Mu Iota Omega chapter. “We’re ready to get them geared up.”

Grissett said it was important to add free health resources to the event.

“This year we did it a little different,” she said. “We added the COVID component. We added the vaccines. We added the COVID testing because that’s going to be a part of our school year this year. COVID isn’t’ going anywhere. We’re going to have to live with COVID throughout this school term.”

During the event, panelists spoke with community members. Dr. Winston McIver, who owns and operates Waccamaw Primary Care, said children need to be safe when they go back to school.

“A big concern is, is that when you’ve got these young kids that may not be vaccinated, they come back home with COVID, they can give it to the whole family and cause a spread and outbreak in the community,” said McIver.

McIver said he was glad he was able to be at the event to support and educate families in the community.

“I feel like it was a worthwhile endeavor, and worthwhile for me to be out here to give the information being a physician in the area, treating COVID and having COVID multiple times myself,” he said.