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Back to School Xplosion Sunday on West Side

By Clint Thomas, Metro Reporter
William (Tray) Coleman, an organizer of the Back to School Xplosion event Sunday, Aug. 13, administers a haircut during a National Night Out on Crime event on Charleston’s West Side. Courtesy photo

The inaugural Back to School Xplosion is scheduled to “detonate” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13, at the old Moore’s Lumber Yard, 500 Patrick St. on Charleston’s West Side.

The event will continue until 4 p.m. Sunday and feature free food, school supply giveaways and other activities for the family.

“We want to make a difference in our local area by coming together and hosting an event for our local children, an event that they can come out, eat, have fun and get to know each other in a positive way before starting the new school year,” explained Back to School Xplosion organizer William (Tray) Coleman, owner/operator of Tray’s Barbershop on Charleston’s East End.

“We have all heard the saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ but it is true,” Coleman said. “Now, more than ever, we need to reach out to the next generation to let them know that we love them and we care about their future. You never know what may make an impressionable difference in a child’s life, so why not take this time to try and make that impression a positive one -- something they will remember.

“Tray’s Barbershop has worked with Debbie Ball, who has always done outreach in the community and helped on the National Night Out on Crime held every year in Orchard Manor,” he said. “When Debbie approached me this year about coming together to do something for the children, it was a no-brainer. We collect and give away school supplies at the shop every year.

“The Back to School Xplosion gives us a way to not only give away school supplies but have some fun things for the children to do before they head back to school. We also want to sow seeds into these young children to give back to their communities as they grow. We need to lead by example, because they only do what they have seen us do.

“Some of these children just need to know that there are people in this community that genuinely care about them and their success.

“We have asked others in our community, including local churches, businesses and individuals to help, giving them the opportunity to make a difference, as well, and making it even better for the children. We just want the children to know that we love them and care about them and know that even business is not just about the bottom line but about the difference you make in others’ lives. It’s not even about one person or one business, but about the community coming together to make a difference,” Coleman said.

Among the churches taking part in Sunday’s gathering is Lion of Judah Ministries, located across the street from the Back to School Xplosion site.

Coleman said donations of school supplies or funds to purchase them are still being accepted. “You may be a local business, a local church or you may be in a position with your company to donate items, donate money or gift cards. You may have influence with others who can donate and support this event. For some, your donation is your time or even an idea. God has gifted us all with seed -- we just need to sow them,” he said.

Children attending on Sunday will also have the opportunity to receive discount cards, gift cards to use at Coleman’s barbershop and other door prizes.

Donations can be dropped off this week at Tray’s Barbershop at 1586 Washington St., E., in Charleston. You can also call to have donations picked up; contact Debbie at 304-205-5861, Jackie at 304-419-3930 or Tray Coleman at 304-437-3929 or email

Coleman added that he and other organizers are hoping to make the Back to School Xplosion an annual event for the community.

“We look forward to this being an annual event, so this will be the first but not the last. Our goal is to sit down after this is over and see what we could have done better to make each year better than the last,” he said.


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