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Planning for school drive under way

By Jesse Campbell (jesse.campbell@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Jun. 26 | Modified: Jun. 26
Planning for school drive under way

Volunteers line up at 2013’s Watauga County Back 2 School Festival. 2014’s installment is set for Saturday, Aug. 9, and volunteers are still needed.

Photo submitted



The refreshing feeling of summer vacation is finally setting in for Watauga County students, but that doesn’t mean preparations for the upcoming school year have fallen by the wayside.

Planning for the annual Watauga County Back 2 School Festival is under way with the goal in mind to serve struggling families with the costs of back-to-school shopping.

A free back-to-school festival will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, at the Watauga County High School gym. A special session for special needs children will be held from 9 to 10 a.m.

Last year’s event attracted 500 students, and the goal for this year’s mark is 1,000 pupils, according to a news release from Hospitality House of Boone.

The school drive comes at a crucial time for area students, as recently released statistics indicate that Watauga County has the third highest poverty rate statewide, with the brunt of that plight fallen on single parents, according to U.S. Census data.

The festival will offer free backpacks, school supplies, professional haircuts, shoes, book giveaways, with fun activities and lunch being provided by Earth Fare and Hospitality House.

Additionally, once at the festival, children in need of clothing will be registered to win gift certificates to Goodwill, Freedom Farm Ministry, Bare Bones Boutique and Salvation Army thrift shops.

Parents are asked to pre-register their children, so that organizers will know how many to expect and can have the correct shoes sizes on hand. To pre-register, visit http://www.back2schoolfestival.org/registeryourchild/, or call The Children’s Council at (828) 262-5424.
To ensure that no child walks away empty handed, event organizers are asking for help from the community.

The festival is looking for individuals, businesses, clubs, churches, civic groups and nonprofits to get involved by participating in the Back 2 School Festival Thrift Store Exchange Program.

Simply take any donated items to Bare Bones Boutique, Freedom Farm Ministry Thrift Shop, Goodwill or Salvation Army and tell them it’s for the Back 2 School Festival. In exchange for such donations, the festival will be given gift certificates to be distributed to children in need of clothing, according to the news release.

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