Kirkman Finlay’s Back-To-School Bash: Bigger Than Ever

RECORD CROWD HIGHLIGHTS ESCALATING NEED … || By FITSNEWS || Every year S.C. Rep. Kirkman Finlay puts on a back-to-school bash in downtown Columbia, S.C. in an effort to provide school supplies to children in need.  In addition to doling out hundreds of backpacks (full of binders, notebooks, pencils, erasers, etc.), Finlay’s…


|| By FITSNEWS || Every year S.C. Rep. Kirkman Finlay puts on a back-to-school bash in downtown Columbia, S.C. in an effort to provide school supplies to children in need.  In addition to doling out hundreds of backpacks (full of binders, notebooks, pencils, erasers, etc.), Finlay’s event provides hundreds of free meals from his restaurant – Pawleys’ Front Porch – to the families of these low-income children.

Oh, and a bouncy house.

Anyway, here’s a video from this year’s event … one we’re told includes our erstwhile “Republican” columnist Taylor Brown (who volunteered at the event) giving the bouncy house a test drive.

Enjoy …

(Click to play)

(Vid: Via)

According to Finlay, this year’s event provided school supplies to 681 children – nearly double the number from last year.  Meanwhile more than 500 meals were served to families in attendance – also a record.

That’s good right?

On one level, absolutely.  Finlay, his restaurant and his charity – along with Richland County (S.C.) councilman Damon Jeter and a host of corporate sponsors – are performing a vital public service using private funds.  They are giving of their time and resources to help others – which is what it’s all about, people.

On another level, though, the surging demand for Finlay’s event shows the extent to which poverty in the Palmetto State – especially in the urban city center of Columbia, S.C. – is on the rise.  And while Finlay and his supporters deserve tremendous credit for marshaling additional resources to meet this growing need – the fact it is expanding so rapidly during a so-called “recovery” is troubling.

Columbia, S.C. was once famously labeled the “Face of the Recession.”  Seven years later, has it really recovered?

Anyway, props to Finlay, Jeter and the sponsors and volunteers who made this year’s “Back-to-School Bash” such a big success.  As we praise them, though, let’s remember to keep our eyes on the prize: Empowering a consumer economy that uplifts all people, not investing a bigger, badder state government that clearly isn’t getting the job done.


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You keep electing them September 1, 2015 at 8:54 am

Republican run state = underfunded schools and undereducated students.

erneba September 1, 2015 at 9:18 am

Yeah, I know what you mean, maybe we should model our school system like some Democrat controlled school systems, say like Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Saint Louis……..etc.
The problem is that government is in the business of controlling our children’s education….that’s a bad start.

Tazmaniac September 1, 2015 at 10:39 am

The State may be majority Republican, but you can take it to the bank that the school systems are majority Dem/Libs. I had no option to try to get my youngest child an indoctrination-free education. Local shithole HS or Billy Bob’s Baptist Haven were the only games in town.

erneba September 1, 2015 at 11:50 am

I was lucky with my son in Atlanta. There were many good/excellent private/religious schools to chose from.

You keep electing them September 1, 2015 at 11:49 am

49th in the nation. All of those places still outrank SC in education.

erneba September 1, 2015 at 11:56 am

You get no arguments from me on that point. Public education in general is woefully lacking.
Education of children needs to be a private sector endeavor.

blueyescrying September 2, 2015 at 8:52 am

I totally agree. I pay for my son’s education at a fraction of the cost that the public school’s spend per student. And at my son’s school the kids excel and learn what they need, not what the gov’t wants to brain wash them with. If people had to pay anything for their kids to go to school we would see who really cares about education and who just wants to use the school system as a babysitter and lunch provider. Then the kids who are their for learning wouldn’t be distracted by the kids who are there just because they have to be, especially in the high school level.

Uh huh September 1, 2015 at 9:24 pm

Yea, but SC funds ABOVE most of those places(29th), yet you want to give them yet more money.

Rewarding failure isn’t going to work all of a sudden.

erneba's Fresh Picked Cherries September 1, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Very selective choices!

Those must be the only blue state examples there are!

That must mean South Carolina and Mississippi are the only red state examples there are!

This closed minded retard thing is fun!

The Buzzman September 1, 2015 at 9:03 am

And admirable effort. Good commentary by Taylor.

Congratulations, Will, on just telling it straight, without a lecture on school choice.

Dennis V September 1, 2015 at 9:43 am

Teaching them early…….’freebies’

Pleaseyoassaurus September 1, 2015 at 4:03 pm

Or you could put aside the snide and demeaning commentary, and consider that they are being taught early the value of passing kindness along. These kids are seeing financially successful people treating them as if they are valuable, and worth investing in. They are being exposed to good examples of how to treat success. It’s sad you have to get a cruel jab in, rather than taking time to consider it from a positive perspective. Just a thought.

Dennis V September 1, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Oh, I thought about it. Hence, the comment. And, please spare me the ‘how can you say that’ manure. I could write paragraph after paragraph proving it. I just don’t have the time.

pleaseyoassaurus September 1, 2015 at 4:59 pm

I don’t doubt you could provide ample evidence of abuse of government subsidies, or expound at length on the failures of the welfare state. That doesn’t apply here. It’s about successful businesses doing something nice for poor kids, and providing a great example to them in the process. Your need to inject something callous and condescending is troubling. Why say it, Dennis? Why jump in to put them down?

The Need For Charity September 1, 2015 at 10:36 am

One Republican helps the poor.

Most of the Republicans keep them poor.

Mike at the Beach September 1, 2015 at 10:45 am

Wow…that’s not too tired. At the macro level, the free market (a notion which Republicans used to support) has pulled more families out of poverty than the so-called “War on Poverty,” which you must think has worked out fabulously. Even on the micro level, conservatives give *significantly* more to the poor (and charities in general) than do liberal / progressives. Much of the misconception stems from the fact that conservatives tend to have more money (go figure). You should read some of the studies on this – pretty interesting stuff.

Rotten Elephant Corpse September 1, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Welfare may be the one thing keeping the poor from climbing the fences of various mansions to strangle the rich.

Soft Sigh from Hell September 1, 2015 at 5:52 pm


As Mencken once wrote, one might get driven to the point to “spit on ones hands, run up the black flag, and go slit some throats.”

Charity Case September 1, 2015 at 12:41 pm

99% of those school supplies will likely end up being used in a public school. Most of those kids are probably eligible for free or reduced school breakfasts and lunches. Some of the parents can probably apply for food stamps to feed them dinner after they get dropped off by the public school bus. Many of them probably rely on medicaid if their child gets sick. I’m sure some of those kids even sleep under the roof of a section 8 home.

Thankfully Finlay didn’t have to worry about getting a charity drive to help these kids obtain all those other things.

Mike at the Beach September 2, 2015 at 12:27 am

OK…so you’re saying that Republicans want none of that assistance at the safety net level? That’s the kooky “core function of government” libertarian crowd, there. Control of the House and Senate has changed hands (sometimes dramatically) numerous times since the “War on Poverty” began, and it’s as strongly funded as it’s ever been. Hell, it’s entitlements that may be about to drag our economy under one of these days in the not-too-distant future. This wasn’t a Repub vs. Dem thing, I don’t think; it sounds to me like Finlay was simply recognizing (and helping fulfill) an unmet need.

Mom September 1, 2015 at 11:04 am

So I’m a poor woman. Let me teach my children to look to a rich white dude to buy them necessary school supplies. Yep.

Derp September 1, 2015 at 1:06 pm

That’s a real depressing way to look at this. Most parents just want their kids to succeed. Poor parents have a lot to worry about financially and even saving $20 on school supplies is very helpful.

You don’t seem to be the kind of person that has to figure out what to pull money from in a tight budget to make sure your kids have what they need for school. How fortunate for you.

Mom September 1, 2015 at 1:50 pm

Just saying if I have to take charity to give my children the bare necessities in life, I would have some shame in doing so.

Pleaseyoassaurus September 1, 2015 at 3:32 pm

That’s a terrible thing to say. You don’t have a fucking clue what the people who are accepting the charity think or feel. Are you so out of touch as to assume that no one there is choking down feelings of shame or inadequacy, just so they can see their child get basic supplies? Have you considered that maybe they swallow the embarrassment of accepting someone else’s generosity, so their kid won’t have to be embarrassed in the classroom by showing up empty-handed? You don’t have a fucking clue, and yet you’re willing to cast off on people you don’t know. God knows the world isn’t a just place, but maybe, just fucking maybe, someday you’ll be in a position where you have to choose between your own pride, and getting your child something they need. Who knows, maybe you’ve been there already and just forgotten that life can be hard. One way or the other, not being a condescending bitch toward people you don’t know might be an encouraging step for you personally. Whatever you think about Finlay, he’s doing something to spare a few kids the embarrassment that you seem so eager to remind them they should have. Your attitude is far more pitiable than poverty.

Free Stuffs September 2, 2015 at 3:32 am

“You don’t have a fucking clue what the people who are accepting the charity think or feel.”

It isn’t difficult to imagine from looking at the photo which accompanies the article.

“I sho bees glad dat rich white mofo be feedin us an gibbin ouah chillins free stuffs today. Dat way I can take what I woulda spend on stuffs fo school an puts it wif what I gots fo lettin Tyrone use what was left on my EBT an get another tattoo.”

Rocky Verdad September 1, 2015 at 11:20 am

It just shows the long term impact of poor schools. Under-educated, poor skilled labor force makes what the market bears. Low wages are paid for low-skilled labor. High wages are paid for high-skilled labor. SC does a great job attracting high-skilled jobs. Just can’t fill those positions.

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