McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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August 3, 2007

Need a little help? Backpack giveaway could be the ticket

This weekend will mark the first Saturday in August, which means it’s time for the free school supplies giveaway at Shared Blessings, 1558 S. Main St., 423-8624.

The giveaway is Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., but people are encouraged to come early, before supplies run out.

It is requested that parents or caregivers who participate bring their children with them. There will be inflatable games, hot dogs and drinks for the kids.

“We’ll have backpacks and school supplies, free,” said Scott Walker, president of the board of Shared Blessings.

“We get the school list and we give them about 90 percent of that.”

That can save quite a bit of money, especially for people with several children, because each kit is valued at $25. Multiply that by four kids and you’ve just saved $100.

“We’ve got backpacks designed for kindergarten, grades 1-3 and 4-6,” Walker said.

“Higher grades get backbacks. Right now we’ve got close to 600 backpacks” filled and not filled. That is up from the more than 300 given away last year.

“This has been a major financial endeavor,” Walker said.

He said the backpacks and school supplies have been financed by local churches, inviduals in those churches and private individuals.

In addition to the free games, food and school supplies, other things will be offered Saturday.

“Parents can also shop for their kids for free, and we’ll be offering free immunizations, “ Walker said.

“We also give out household good and foods. We are multi-faceted.”

Anyone can get the free backpack and school supplies. “There are no qualifications in order to receive help. There is no paperwork,” Walker said.

“We’re give away about $15,000 of stuff and all we ask is that people bring their children with them.

“Of course, if they can’t bring their children with them, we will work with that.”

Contact Susan Brittingham at sbrittingham@mcalesternews.com or 421-2029.

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