By Harley Nefe
The 2020 Back 2 School Festival will be held on two dates this year — Friday, Aug. 7 and Saturday, Aug. 8 at Watauga High School.
This is to allow the Back 2 School Festival to create a socially distanced environment.
“While we are still uncertain about how the children will learn, the Back 2 School Festival remains committed to making sure every Watauga County student returns for the 2020/2021 school year confident and prepared with the tools they need to succeed,” stated Back 2 School organizers in a press release.
The Back 2 School Festival is an annual event that aims to help any Watauga County families struggling to afford the high costs of sending their children back to school, according to its website.
It was founded on the belief that every child deserves to start the school year feeling confident and prepared, and a child that feels confident is more likely to succeed.
The Back 2 School Festival provides Watauga County families with school supplies, new shoes and socks, backpacks, hair cuts, activities, information and healthy food. They also offer relief for local parents who are working hard to make ends-meet and help teachers by providing the tools their students need to succeed in school.
“Watauga County Schools anticipates even greater need this year due to COVID-19,” stated Kendra Sink, Back 2 School Festival president, in the press release. “Many parents have lost jobs or are working protracted hours while our economy continues to recover. A lot of families in our area may be facing challenges paying for food, housing and other necessities for the first time. And school supplies are a huge expense they may not be able to handle.”
The Back 2 School Festival’s fundraising efforts were halted earlier this year with the stay at home order, and $40,000 is needed this year to meet the needs of the students.
“We have seen some of our supporting partners remain open and furlough employees, while some have had to shut their doors for good. We are grieving with them,” stated Back 2 School organizers in the press release. “We know we are facing extraordinary circumstances this year, but by sharing the load among many, it lightens it for those who need help the most.”
The Back 2 School Festival encourages community involvement. From collection efforts, to volunteer opportunities, to having a presence at the festival, they want the community to invest in the success of the students.
More information and opportunities to help with the Back 2 School Festival can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Back2SchoolFestival/ or on their website at www.back2schoolfestival.org.