SPRINGFIELD TWP. After a week or more of volunteers working together to prepare 500 filled backpacks, students and parents began to line up along Main Street in Lakemore at 7:30 a.m. to receive one of the "stuffed" backpacks prepared for the start of school.
July 21 marked the fourth year for the backpack giveaway through the Springfield Cares organization, which is known in the Lakemore and Springfield communities to give a helping hand when residents need one.
Springfield Cares President Nancy Rodrigues said it is because of the volunteers that the organization can take on such a big undertaking such as 500 backpacks.
"We couldn’t do it without the donations and help," she said.
It was evident on the faces of the kids receiving the backpacks that it meant a lot to them. Parents smiled as the kids chose which backpack they wanted to start the new school year. The backpacks ranged camouflaged to princess-themed.
Nativity Church of the Lord Jesus Catholic Church on Myersville Road in Springfield Township donated enough items to fill 200 backpacks and purchased 100 backpacks all donated for the children of the village and township. Items in the backpacks included pencils, colored pencils, paper, note book, ruler, erasers crayons, glue sticks, folders, index cards and highlighters and all were done for appropriate age groups kindergarten through high school.
The Lakemore Lions Club, the Men’s Group at Lakemore United Methodist Church, SUPER Learning Center, the Port Summit Rotary Club and members of the community all donated money to purchase school supplies and backpacks to help the kids get a good start on the school year.
The kids, parents and grandparents, entered the Municipal Building in Lakemore and chose the backpack they wanted, then had a chance to choose some extra supplies that were available. The kids then went outside to get a snack served by staff of SUPER Learning Center. They picked from chips, pretzels and a variety of treats and then received a drink and popsicles.
Head Start was on site to provide information to parents on pre-school options that are free to community members that qualify. The programs are for those children ages six weeks to 35 months and three to five years old. For more information, call 330-643-0711.
The Lakemore Police Department was on hand to speak with residents about Project Share-A-Christmas. Officers were selling T-shirts for $20 to help support the cause which provides a special Christmas to children of Lakemore. With approximately 450 school age children in the village, more than half receive some form of financial assistance and the Share-A-Christmas helps to provide a little more during the Holiday season. The department is also selling raffle tickets for a 2018 Harley Davidson Sportster 48 Special to raise funding for the program. T-shirts and raffle tickets are available at the Police Department.
Rodrigues said they passed out more than 400 backpacks and will give a few to each school in the Springfield district in case they have someone in need.