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1,200 kids get free backpacks, school supplies

This year, more than 1,200 kids are going back to school with brand new backpacks and supplies they might not have had otherwise.

It’s all thanks to the sixth annual Back 2 School Giveaway sponsored by the Gate City Christian Church and 50 local businesses.

Each backpack gets a tag and each kid gets a backpack — that’s the way the back-to-school assembly line worked Saturday morning. More than 3,000 people showed up to the giveaway, and they showed up early.

Single mom Brooke Wilson has five kids and is on Social Security. She got there at 2:30 a.m.

“I was too late last year, and it’s a very significant part of my kids’ school year to get these school supplies so I wasn’t missing this year,” Wilson said.

And her three girls had a great time.

“It like kind of brings the family together, too,” Kieesha Wilson said.

Rauchelle Lewis was the second person at the giveaway she lined up at 2:45 a.m.

“This is how I get by through the school year is trying to get help from other people and I’m so grateful for this,” Lewis said.

Lewis is grateful because the average price of back-to-school supplies can be more than $500 for one elementary school student, according to Huntington Bank.

Director Josh Robinson said that’s why the church keeps the event going.

“We saw that there were families in need and we said, ‘We can do something about that,'” Robinson said.

The backpacks come stuffed with a set of standard supplies based on grade level, and between the scissors, glue, stickers, and pencil box, Kindergartener Kenadie Rowe said, “I got everything I need.”

People who missed Saturday’s giveaway can visit Potelco Credit Union on Olympus Drive on Aug. 24 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to get a backpack and supplies, too.

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