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Couple holds back-to-school picnic

The backyard of Steve and Pat Watson was full of children, food, and backpacks and other school supplies on Saturday.

It was the seventh annual back-to-school picnic for the Watsons. They started having the event just for their grandchildren.

“Once they got older, they started bringing more and more of their friends,” Watson said. Eventually, he got the idea to buy school supplies for the kids.

“I started taking my vacation check and getting school supplies,” Watson said.

Soon, neighborhood kids, friends of friends and generally anyone who found out about the event was invited, ballooning to well more than 100 children.

Last year, Watson’s employer, Kraft Heinz, the owner of Planters, found out about the event and sponsored it. It was held at Peanut Park.

It was back at the Watsons’ home on Kilby Avenue this year, with backpacks stuffed with school supplies left over from last year and waiting to be handed out to local children.

“I just like doing it,” Watson said. “I see the unfortunate ones that can’t buy a bookbag. That’s really why I do it. Stuff is so expensive now.”

Watson said he spent about $400 this year on food and other needs for the picnic.

Timeka Hardee said she found out about the event through a friend.

“I’m thankful and very grateful he found it in his heart to give,” she said. “It really helps out, and I really appreciate it.”