SPOKANE, Wash. - While many kids spend the summer playing, Amari Troutt volunteers for the East Central Community Center's (ECCC) summer youth program.
"The kids are really crazy," Troutt joked.
The Spokane sophomore likes to help out with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Outreach Center at ECCC.
She said she's been part of the nonprofit's programs since she was three.
"The center has always been like a second home to me," Troutt said.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Outreach Center started running ECCC in January. Development and community outreach manager Daniel Morales said that since then, they've been updating the building and expanding programs.
"It's important that we have access here so that people can walk down the road and find what they need," Morales said.
Hundreds of people do just that, which is why ECCC will be filled with families on August 25 for a back to school event.
"This is just a time that we can really make sure our students are prepared and they're not so stressed," Morales said.
Kids can get backpacks stuffed with supplies, along with haircuts, food, and toiletries. All of that will be free.
Families can pre-register online or at the center, on 500 S. Stone Street. But, pre-registration is not necessary. There will be extra supplies Saturday.
Troutt said she and her siblings relied on the event last year.
"It takes a lot of the stress away because like the backpack that I have now...I still have it from last year. It works great and it's helpful for my mom, too, because she doesn't have to worry about finding the money or worrying about where we are going to get the backpacks," Troutt said.
Help doesn't stop at that event though.
People from across Spokane rely on the food bank at the community center to feed their families. Morales said they've expanded pick up so now about 100 families come once a week for food and residents from any neighborhood can come there.
Morales also said there are senior programs at ECCC and offices for SNAP and WIC.
It's a place that Troutt is proud to be part of and a place she hopes to work at one day.
"Having this here in the community brings people together to actually form a community and then to have everyone knowing that there is support out there somewhere for them, it kind of just takes a lot of stress of off a lot of people," Troutt said.
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