KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Sunday was the second annual backpack giveaway in Kinston.
Hundreds of people were at the Martin C. Freeman gym for the giveaway, as well as the ribbon cutting ceremony to dedicate the renovated gym to Brandon Ingram.
People at the event say he is an inspiration and positive role model in the community.
“Brandon he gave us a lot of stuff today, every start of the year he brings us stuff,” Kinston resident Atreal Maye said.
“It’s just like something that came out of my heart, something I wanted to do for my community, the less fortunate, people that don’t have, or even people that do, a chance to give back,” Ingram said.
Over 750 students received free book bags along with t-shirts and other gear.
“The chance for these kids to see a real life superstar, but also know that he came from their backyard, that is so important for these kids seeing Brandon and his likeness here,” Kinston mayor BJ Murphy said.
“Knowing that he made it to the NBA and I could play basketball, I want to make it to the NBA too. If I work hard like him I be able to make it,” Kinston resident Shilyk Poole said.
“Like how he came out of Kinston, people, they think Kinston is a bad neighborhood, and he came out of Kinston and went to the NBA, and that inspires me,” Maye said.
Parents say they are lucky to have a role model like Ingram for their children to look up to.
“As a parent, it made me feel real good for somebody that came from where we came from, to give back to the community and to show support and love and he never forgot about his hometown,” Kinston resident Laketa Nobles said.
Ingram says the school supplies drive is a way for him to lead by example and remind the community that education if the first step in achieving your goals.
“It’s a dream come true for me just to have these these guys and kids look up to me like this and having a opportunity to do something positive for this community and for my hometown is it’s like nothing else,” Ingram said.
“Inspiration for me, for me to go farther in life,” Maye said.
The Ingram family teamed up with several sponsors like Adidas, American Eagle and local Walgreen’s and Staples stores to come up with the backpacks filled with gift cards, pencils, paper, pens and more.