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Pick of the Week: Prepare for back-to-school with barbecue and talent show

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About 300 people showed up for last year’s barbecue and talent show hosted by Operation 13:2.

As the summer vacation season comes to a close with a new school year right on its heels, one Cochise County non-profit is giving families in Sierra Vista one more chance for a day of classic summer fun.

On Saturday, Operation 13:2 will be hosting a family-friendly back-to-school barbecue and talent show in Veterans Memorial Park from noon until 3 p.m. The event is free to the public and will be providing food, music, games, entertainment, and school supplies to those who come, said co-founders Stephanie Baker and Kelly Flores.

This will be the organization’s second year doing the summer event, and Flores estimated that last year around 300 people came and 125 backpacks were given out. “That’s our plan for this year too,” Flores said, “to serve at least this number or more.”

The event will also feature Christian hip-hop artist Young Noah from Atlanta, Georgia as emcee, who will also be doing a concert with the organization at LifeHouse Church on Friday at 7 p.m.

Baker and Flores explain that the name of Operation 13:2 comes from Bible verse Hebrews 13:2, which is about showing hospitality and charity to strangers. Their mission “is just to love each other” and “fight poverty with love.”

“We have three pillars of focus,” Baker explained. “One is homlessness; at-risk youth, specifically those in single-parent homes or the foster system; and our third focus is families in crisis, such as in need of rehabilitation and things like that.”

They believe that providing resources helps break generational cycles of issues such as poverty and substance abuse, and see the barbecue as one of the ways they provide entertainment for the whole family to encourage wholesome activities and time spent together. “And we have a talent show that can help kids express themselves in a healthy way,” Flores said.

All the services and products provided at the event have been donated by various community partners, most notably from grants provided to Operation 13:2 from the Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona.

For more information or to secure a spot for the youth talent show (registration can also be done on-site at the event), contact Stephanie Baker at (520) 559-0855.

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