KINGSTON TWP. — Children of all ages lined up to play games, get free school supplies and grab a bite to eat at the Back to School Bash Aug. 6.
The event was held by the Shavertown United Methodist Church.
Children and their parents were able to participate in an array of games and crafts, earning a checkmark for each activity completed. Once families finished all activities, they were then able to line up and trade in their checkmarks for school supplies.
Church missions and outreach volunteer Sandy Michalisin said this is the third year the church has held the free event. She said their pastor, Judy Walker, came up with the idea for the program.
“Where she was previously, they did it,” she said. “So she brought it up, and we thought we should try it.”
Michalisin said in past years the church has given away between 100 to 150 backpacks per event. A new feature was added this year to bring in more families.
The church added a Tumble Bus to the event, which is an old school bus that’s been converted into a gym.
“We thought it’d be a great addition to the event,” Michalisin said.
Children and their parents continuously stopped to check out the sight.
Equipped with a variety of gymnastics equipment ranging from monkey bars and a trampoline to a rock wall and zipline, the Tumble Bus was a hit at the event.
Oh, and it’s air-conditioned, too.
Across from the bus, Kingston Township Police, Fire and EMS were lined up, guiding children through their vehicles.
The Shavertown No. 251 fire truck had its equipment open for families to view, while firefighters answered children’s questions.
Officer John Fuches of the Kingston Township DARE Program was available to speak with families and let kids see and explore his vehicle.
“We’re here to help (the church) out and be a part of the community,” Fuches said.
Parents said they enjoyed coming out to the bash, which allowed kids to have fun and save families some money.
Everything from backpacks and notebooks to pencils and gluesticks were available, as well as multiple art supplies such as crayons and scissors.
Kyrston Strauch, of Harveys Lake, attended the bash with her son, Cameron, and Adrian Lacroix, a transfer student from France.
“I think it’s cool, we don’t have this in France,” Lacroix said. “It could be cool for kids going into school.”
Strauch said they attended last year’s event and thinks it’s getting better every year.
Carolann Rawls, of Edwardsville, also brought her children to the event to get school supplies. She agreed that it helps families save money while allowing kids to have fun.
“It was neat. It’s a good money saver,” she said. “It’s really good for people without the money to spend to have fun and get school stuff.”
Items for the event were supplied through donations from the church’s congregation.