Filling a Need…and a Backpack

Sistah 2 Sistah gets kids ready for school

By Amy Carlson, NBC 15 Anchor

When Jackie Hunt calls, you answer. She relies on the help of other sisters to connect and fill the gaps that she identifies. She and a group of African-American women founded Sistah 2 Sistah in 2008 to help other black single moms realize their potential and strengthen their families.

Sistah 2 Sistah has created events to support single mother families—a PreMother’s Day Brunch, SPIRIT Group, Dinner with Soul Santa and the Back 2 Skool Bash. Hunt recognized the need in filling backpacks with school supplies when she had a high schooler, three middle schoolers and two elementary students to outfit for school. The school supply lists were overwhelming and she tried to catch every sale.

Hunt walked each of her children into school and met the teachers. She noticed the disappointment on the faces of kids without all of the needed supplies. “I wanted to take away that stigma of not being ready for success,” she says. The Back 2 Skool Bash held on Labor Day this year continues to grow. Community partners are given a student’s grade, gender and school, and then fill a backpack with everything listed on the supply sheets found at local stores. All backpacks are dropped off at Nehemiah Corporation for proper distribution. Back to school time also means looking your best. Hunt’s friend NeNe Harris from Verne Nycole House of Beauty on Park Street volunteers to braid or flat iron girls’ hair. JP Hair Design provides the cuts for the boys. The stylists talk to the kids about being ready for success.

“I can’t fill all the gaps, but these resonated with my spirit to support other moms and bless them,” says Hunt, a veteran family therapist, community activist and recovered addict. Early in her recovery she started serving the community. “Serving others was the best way to stay clean. A lot of people counted me out,” she says.

Her main focus has been supporting families that are marginalized. “My journey created this heart for people, families and communities,” says Hunt. Her testimony of recovery, redemption and restoration provides the foundation for her work. She is succeeding—one of the first moms that Hunt helped is now working alongside her, giving back to her sisters.

Sistah 2 Sistah has no formal funding, but tax-deductible donations are accepted through Fountain of Life Covenant Church designated to FOSTER/S2S.