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Back to School: Supply drives, giveaways for Anchorage families

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 11:06 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - There are several back-to-school supply drives and giveaways happening around Anchorage for families in need.

At the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, bins are full of supplies and continue to fill up. The church’s particular drive supports Denali Elementary School, North Star Elementary School and Fairview Elementary School. They offer everything from backpacks, pencils, notebooks and markers, all are welcome. This is the fifth year for the school supply drive, but it doesn’t just stop once school starts, it is a year-round mission.

“We know that the community needs help especially with Covid going on we did it when the schools were shut down with the pandemic,” said Gwuana R. Thomas, Sr., an associate pastor for discipleship and ministries with the church. “We still supplied supplies to the school the students, so it’s a need in the community that needs to be met and we’re here to serve the community as best we possibly can.”

People can drop off items at the church during open hours or Sunday service. If people don’t want to do the shopping but still want to donate, they can send someone to buy the supplies for those interested.

There is also the G.A.P. Program’s 6th Annual Backpack and Supply giveaway, which is happening at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Northway Mall.

Sophia Metters, the founder of the program, said more than 1,200 backpacks are filled and ready to be given away at this year’s carnival-themed event. Each year since it began, backpacks are given away to students in grades K-12. There will also be gift cards, haircuts and many other resources to help families this year.

“Right now within the pandemic, a lot of people are without jobs,” Metters said. “You know I work with people, and vocational, and helping people find jobs for one of my other companies and I feel like this is a way to help the families. And the gift cards school shopping is a way to help the families that are in need.”

COVID-19 vaccinations will also be available on site. Metters stressed that parents need to bring their kids with them or verification is required. You can also reach her for more information at (907) 444-1997.

The Back to School Health and Safety Fair sponsored by the Anchorage Health Department and Parks and Recreation along with several other community partners is holding a drive-thru event on Friday from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Fairview Recreational Center.

On Saturday, the fair will also have a walk-thru event from noon to 4 p.m. at the same location. Everything is free with more than 800 backpacks being given away.The Z. J. Loussac Library is giving away free books and library cards.

There will also be eye exams, food, haircuts and WIC screening. COVID-19 vaccinations and immunizations will be given out as well. Parents are asked to bring shot records.

Register for the event at the department’s website.

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