BOONE, NC – June 26, 2017: The fifth annual Back 2 School Festival will be kicking off its Pack-the-Bus initiative this coming weekend in both the Blowing Rock and Boone Independence Day parades. Families, church groups, teachers and scout troops are invited to ride the bus and be in the parade. Parade participants will be handing out candy donated by Mast General Store; as well as, cards encouraging people to help Pack-the-Bus at First National Bank and Fill-the-Bin at Goodwill locations in Boone.
For the July 1st Blowing Rock parade, interested community members should meet at Davant Park at 1:30 p.m.; for the July 4th parade in Boone, folks should meet in the parking lot of the Watauga Health Department, off Poplar Grove Road, at 10:30 a.m.
At the conclusion of the Boone parade, festival organizers will park a big yellow school bus at First National Bank (formerly Yadkin Bank) locations in Boone to collect school supplies for this years’ festival. The buses, located at the New Market Center branch and the Blowing Rock Road branch, will be collecting supplies from July 4th to August 4th. Individuals, families and groups wishing to donate school supplies can drop them off at the buses anytime during regular business hours.
“Pack-the-Bus is key to the success of the Back 2 School Festival,” states Sandra Ruppert, Green Valley School counselor and Back 2 School Festival Supplies Committee chairperson. “Not only does it offer an opportunity for everyone in Watauga County to get involved, it also helps to offset the cost of us having to purchase school supplies.”
Additionally, anyone cleaning out a closet or having leftover items from a yard sale are encouraged to drop off items at either of the Goodwill stores in Boone between now and August 4th. Simply tell the store personnel at drop-off that your donation is for the Back 2 School Festival and it will be turned into a gift card that will be handed out to families at the festival.
The Back 2 School Festival, started in 2013 as a collaborative effort between The Children’s Council, Western Youth Network, Hospitality House and Quiet Givers and others seeks to streamline local school readiness efforts in order to have a greater impact on the community. It was designed to serve any family struggling to afford the high costs of back-to-school shopping in a fun, dignified and respectful environment. Their goal is for all kids to start school feeling confident and prepared for the year ahead. Last year over 800 students received backpacks, school supplies, shoes, haircuts and lunch during the half-day festival.
After five years of building confidence, preparing futures and ensuring success, the number of children and families continues to grow and festival organizers continue to reach out to the community for support and help.
To date, this year’s Back 2 School Festival, presented by Mast General Store, ECRS Retail Automation, 4 Forty Four Builders and Wells Fargo, has raised $18,000 but still needs $12,000 to make the festival a success.
“We need to raise a minimum of $30,000 in order to meet the demand,” says Children’s Council executive director Crystal Kelly. “Last year, thanks to the generosity of sponsors and donors, we were able to provide shoes to every child and our goal is to do the same this year.”
Additional sponsors includes Wendy’s / Tar Heel Capital, Blue Ridge Energies, Boone Drug Inc., Alray Tire of Boone, Snow in July Designs and St. Elizabeth’s Knights of Columbus Council #11966. Sponsorships are available at multiple levels, ranging from $100 to $5000. Any business or person interested in sponsoring the festival can visit back2schoolfestival.org/sponsorship/ or contact festival coordinator Kendra Sink at [email protected]
This year’s festival, will take place Saturday, August 12th at Watauga County High School from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Contributions may be made online at back2schoolfestival.org/donate/ or checks made payable to The Children’s Council, with “B2SF17” in the memo line, may be mailed to PO Box 102, Boone N.C. 28607.