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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Backpack extravaganza serves huge crowd

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hundreds turned out to take part in the Backpack Extravaganza at the Highland Assembly of God Church. Photo by Steven Looney [Order this photo]
For the third year, the Backpack Extravaganza at the Highland Assembly of God brought out a number of organizations to help area students with their back to school needs.

Police and fire department personnel and civic organizations took part in what has become the largest back to school event in the area -- which assisted 750 families with everything from school supplies to shoes.

The interdenominational community-wide project is sponsored each year by the Ministerial Alliance, and hosted by the Highland Assembly of God.

Area students received backpacks full of school supplies, and were offered haircuts, health and vision screenings, and, for the first time, new shoes.

With the financial support of area banks, businesses, churches and individuals, students in the area are able to go back to school with everything they need to start the new school year.

750 backpacks were distributed, along with 100 wellness exams, 300 vision screenings, and 300 haircuts provided throughout the day.

Also there were fingerprint identification kits collected by Sharp County Sheriff Mark Counts and School Resource Officer Steve Chism.

The Lion's Club provided vision screenings, and numerous local hairdressers provided their time to give the haircuts.

Children and families were also treated to free hotdogs, cookies and bottled water as they waited.

The Highland Fire Department provided tours of its fire truck, and bouncy houses allowed children to enjoy the day with their friends.

One student from Highland, Salem and Cave City Schools won a drawing for three IPads.

Many parents expressed their thanks for the generosity of the community for the project. Jennifer Michaels, a single mother of three, said she was so thankful for the project and the volunteers.

With tough financial times, the event has continued to grow over the last three years, serving more and more children each year.

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