Backpack buddies: Registration open for annual school supply family event

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GREENFIELD – The stress and expense of back-to-school shopping will be eased a bit next week with a free community event serving up supplies, food and fun.

Hancock 4 Kids Summer Series continues July 21 with a backpack and school supply giveaway event. The family series of events in Riley Park this summer have included free food and games, and this month there will also be backpacks with pencils, paper and more, ensuring children have what they need to get the school year started.

Registration is required, said H4K co-director Mikel Theobald, to ensure every child pre-K through high school at the event gets a backpack. Registration is at hancock4kids.org/event/family_fun_session2.

“When we started Hancock 4 Kids, our goal was to support children and families,” Theobald said. “One of the things we know is buying school supplies is expensive and that causes stress, so we thought, ‘Let’s reverse that. Let’s have a fun evening and just give away what a lot of families need.’”

Hancock 4 Kids, a chartered council of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization with a mission to “ensure every child feels scherished and nurtured in a safe and healthy environment.” It hosts family events and fundraisers throughout the year, as well as positive parenting classes.

“It’s just another way for us to support families and for kids to have fun coming and picking out supplies that they like,” Theobald said.

The organization first started giving away backpacks in 2019 to about 100 children. In 2020 supplies were donated to another community drive-through event. In 2021, 180 children registered and got a backpack.

This year at least 300 backpacks are available, Theobald said. The backpacks are purchased through the organization’s fundraising dollars; Leo’s Market and Eatery are providing additional supplies this year.

Theobald said in addition to registering, people should plan on bringing their children to the event so they can enjoy picking out their own backpack and enjoy the camaraderie of the community.

“It’s more than just an event where we’re giving things away,” she said. “It’s not a targeted group, not need-based. It’s just fun.”

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