The Backpack Assist Ministry team didn’t let the COVID-19 pandemic stop them from serving the community, although their back-to-school distribution did look different than previous years.
On July 25, BAM, along with White County Schools, lined the high school track so that White County and Van Buren County families could participate in a drive-thru event. Each child present received a backpack full of school supplies and were able to get a treat from Mountain Sno before they exited the track. Cars began lining up in the high school parking lot by 8 a.m., and, when the line reached out to Roosevelt Drive, the decision was made to go ahead and open the gates to let the cars begin driving around the football field. Principals from each school were on hand to distribute flyers with important back-to-school information to students as well as greet them and let them know they are eager to see them back at school in a few short weeks. Seven hundred backpacks were stuffed with school supplies donated by area churches and businesses and ready to be distributed as the cars made their way around the track.
“Things are definitely different this year,” Carleen Benson, event organizer, said. “But we are just happy to have the opportunity to help these families as they prepare for their children to go back to school. We will be working with schools as they reopen to see if there are any additional needs – maybe families who weren’t able to attend today’s event – and see if we are able to help, in any way, to fill those needs.”