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Back-to-School Fair to hand out supplies

Salina Journal


Salina Journal

Organizers will distribute 1,850 backpacks filled with school supplies at the ninth annual Back-to-School Fair, set for 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 6 at Lakewood Middle School.

The fair is sponsored by Salina’s Healthy Community Healthy Youth Coalition.

“There was a need identified about nine years ago (for school supplies), by the number of students that receive free and reduced lunches,” said Marcia Demuth, fair coordinator. “The number of students in Saline County (that receive free and reduced lunches) is alarming.”

Demuth said the fair was started to help ease the hardship for parents of enrolling their children and purchasing their school supplies.

This year, the school supplies — including crayons, erasers, rulers, glue sticks and scissors — were donated by Philips Lighting.

Demuth said the coalition, which is part of the United Way, raised money last year for the backpacks, which cost approximately $20 each.

The Salina School District got involved with hosting the event at Lakewood Middle School and picking up the supplies from the supply vendor after Superintendent Rob Winters experienced the event last year.

“He knew it existed and was benefiting the district, but he came last year and saw it first-hand,” Demuth said. “He got really excited.”

To receive supplies, families must register between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday at Trinity Lutheran Church, at Ninth and Crawford streets. Students must live in Saline County, be enrolled in Saline County schools and qualify for free and reduced lunches in order to qualify.

“We get a high response and we run out of available backpacks before our time is up,” Demuth said. “We will have enough to fill the need.”

In addition to the school supplies, the back-to-school fair will include obstacle courses, YMCA class demonstrations and nutrition information provided by volunteers from the YMCA. The fair also features 25 exhibitors promoting student and family services, physicals, dental and mental health screenings, asthma checks, hair trims and car seat checks.

In addition, Wanda Esping, local outreach specialist for the Kansas Health Policy Authority, will attend the backpack registration and the fair. Esping assists in determining eligibility and helps trouble shoot pending applications for Medicaid and HealthWave for pregnant women and children. People attending the backpack registration may apply or visit with Esping about medical programs or applications. At the fair, Esping will be available to visit with people who need to apply for HealthWave or to check the status of pending applications. Printed material about HealthWave also will be available.

nReporter Chris Hunter can be reached at 822-1422 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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