Back to School Events Draw Big Crowds

Thursday, August 10, 2017
Volunteers stayed busy during the Backpack Bash, held Saturday on the grounds of both the Hemingway-Pfeiffer and Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer museums in Piggott. Pictured are just some of those who took part, including personnel with the Clay County Sheriff's Department and Piggott PD.
courtesy photo

Backpack Bash

The weather was near perfect as the Community Alliance of Piggott hosted their second annual Backpack Bash Saturday, held on the grounds of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum, in Piggott.

Organizers reported there were long lines prior to the start of the event, and by the end of the day over 380 supply-filled backpacks were distributed. The backpacks were offered free to all students of the Piggott School district, kindergarten through 12th grade, with no regard to income or other guidelines.

Throughout the event there were also free haircuts, and a number of students also took advantage of that opportunity. To add to the fun there were train rides, face painting and visitors from local first responders. Free snow cones, hotdogs, cookies and bottled water was also served to those attending—thanks to the community support for the effort.

A number of area agencies also set-up locations at the bash, handing out information to the community about their various services.

“The Community Alliance would like to say thank-you to all of those who donated time, money and supplies to aid this year's Backpack Bash,” a spokesperson for the organization said of the event. “Thank you for caring about our students and our community!”

The Community Alliance of Piggott is made up of a variety of individuals from area churches, the school district and the business community. They've sponsored several efforts in their short history, including the earlier Backpack Bash and a Trunk-or-Treat event on the Piggott square to mention a few.

Day of Love

In their ongoing effort to equip students for success with the tools necessary to begin the school year, Rector area churches banded together this past weekend to hand-out backpacks, school supplies and love. In addition, personal hygiene items along with cleaning and health products, underwear and socks are being delivered to the schools this week.

By mid-morning Saturday, Aug. 5, over 90 students had chosen backpacks--selected by the student to fit their size based on age. Various designs and hot colors also allowed the students to match individual style as organizers sought items to meet current style trends. From one distribution point at Rector First United Methodist Church to another at 5th and Pine Church of Christ, students stocked up for school’s opening on Monday, Aug. 14, as Arkansas students return to class.

Preparation for the love fest takes an ongoing effort on the part of congregations and designated bargain shoppers with an eye for great deals throughout the year. The cost of needed school supplies could cost a parent with several children in various grades, including the grade-level specific school supplies and a sturdy backpack for each student, is a big impact on family budgets. For a high school student, a composition book, mechanical pencils, black ballpoint pens, binders, notebook paper, and more add up to a tidy sum. The cost is staggering when you multiply that by the number of school-age children in the family.

Michele Haley, RES secretary and volunteer organizer for school supply bags said, “We make sure the supplies are grade-level specific. A sixth-grade student does not use blunt tip scissors and first graders do not need a bundle of black pens. Super-shoppers Christy Ford and Lisa Manchester have radar zoned in on bargains to make our contributions and monetary donations meet more needs.”

Much has changed over the years of this community/school service project. The churches communicate and plan together to assure efforts are far reaching rather than duplicated.

Haley went on to say, “We make sure to include an Expo marker for the white boards/smart boards that are in each teacher’s classroom. Middle grade students’ supplies look more like high school supplies now with teachers including binders and dividers so students can learn to be more organized and keep up with their papers better. We try to stay up-to-date.”

Churches involved in the community effort included Rector First United Methodist, 5th and Pine Church of Christ, General Baptist, Rector First Baptist and Hopewell Missionary Baptist.

Those volunteers meeting the students with love were Kay Huggins, Shirley Simmons, Terry Shultz, Teresa Roofe, Reba Scobey, Vickie Roden, Gail Ford, Bonnie Manning, Ann Smith, Breanna Linam, Kim Romine and Michele Haley.

The complete rundown of back-to-school information for Piggott, Rector and Marmaduke may be found in this week's print edition of the CCTD.

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