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Project aims at providing K-5 students with backpacks, supplies

An idea is taking form in Unicoi County to help school children in grades kindergarten through fifth grade to start the 2015-2016 school year on the right foot.
Wendy Broyles, of Rock Creek Elementary, and husband, Lee, came up with the idea of a “Back to School Carnival” event that is tentatively scheduled for July 25 at the National Guard Armory in Erwin.
The idea for the event came to the couple after attending a back-to-school event hosted by Harmony Free Will Baptist Church in Hampton, Wendy said.
“We first got the idea from Harmony Church,” she explained. “They set up booths and were able to give kids in the area backpacks with school supplies.”
There are roughly 1,100 kids in grades K-5 in Unicoi County, and the goal of the carnival is to allow students to start the school year on the same page, Broyles added.
“We have a number of families that live at the poverty line and we want to help give kids the opportunity to start the school year on the right note,” she said.
Providing approximately 1,100 students with school supplies will take a community-wide effort, according to Broyles. The idea of the carnival is for children to receive backpacks with school supplies along with other festivities, including game booths, face-painting, inflatables and refreshments. All of this will be free to the public in attendance with events being geared to elementary kids, according to Broyles.
“We’re looking for support from as many as we can,” she said. “It typically takes around $10 to get a backpack and fill it with supplies.”
The fundraising event will be taking cash donation to purchase identical items in bulk. Anyone interested in contributing can send donations to Centenary United Methodist Church in Erwin. There is a separate account the church has set up for the fundraiser, Broyles said.
Individuals who wish to donate using a check are asked to write ‘backpack’ or ‘back to school carnival’ in the memo line so the check is deposited into the separate account.
A meeting for the carnival will be held on April 7 at 6:30 p.m. and any anyone interested in assisting with the event is invited to attend, Broyles said.
For more information, contact Centenary United Methodist Church at 743-4342.