EATON — The Back to School Fair was held on Monday, Aug. 12, giving families a chance to get school supplies and shoes before the start of the new school year.
The fair was a collaboration of The Common Good of Preble County, all five school districts, and various area food pantries, with the intention of bringing the community together to help those in need.
Representatives were present from all five Preble County school districts, including the following food pantries: Once Around Thrift Shop, Trinity Lutheran Church, St. John’s United Church of Christ, St. Paul United Methodist Church, Little Shop of Sharing, and Wares Chapel Church.
Every school district was represented and children from all school districts received aid.
School supplies received was dependent upon the school district and the grade a student is in.
Eaton Community School supplies were provided by the Once Around Shop, a program of The Common Good of Preble County. Some 150 students received backpacks, complete grade-specific supplies, and new socks and shoes. Supplies and back packs were donated by numerous community churches and United Way funding.
Twin Valley Community Local School District sponsors included Rexarc, Roselius Insurance, Lion’s Club of West Alexandria, Buckeye Power Sales, and Meraki Lane Boutique. Some 76 students received back to school assistance this year.
All interested parties had to pre-register prior to the event, with their list of school supplies and shoe size. The event also offered free hair cuts, a free meal, and contacts with various social service agencies.
According to The Common Good of Preble County Executive Director Jenny McCarty, eligibility was focused on need, instead of income.
“We know there are people out there with jobs who are still struggling,” she said. “If people are having trouble putting food on the table, they are also going to have trouble with back to school.”
There were approximately 500 students who attended the fair. All who attended received a free pair of brand name shoes, donated by the Reid Health Foundation.
This is the first year the Back to School Fair has been held. McCarty said she was happy with the turnout and the event in its entirety, noting, she believes it is important to bring resources together to help their clients.
“It definitely was a success. We were able to serve the whole community and pull resources, so everybody could get the same type of service and fair. It was nice to see that we are collaborating and working together to meet the needs of all students in the community, not just one district at a time,” she said.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH