“Back to School” School Supply Drive is Here Again!

For the past l2 years, local community organizers have made a dream come true for children and youth from Gifford and other underserved areas in Indian River County. Backpacks filled with new school supplies have been given to children to help prepare them for school and create a positive new beginning to their school year. Previously held at the Gifford Community Center, this year’s “Back to School” drive will be held at the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office due to the need for more space. The event will take place at 4055 41st Street, Vero Beach on Saturday, July 3l from l0:00 a.m. to l2:00 p.m. County Commissioner Joe Flesher will open the event introducing Freddie Woolfork of the Gifford Youth Activities Center. The l2th Annual “Back to School” is being coordinated by the Gifford Youth Activity Center, River Fund/Feed Everyone, By the River, the Indian River County Sheriff’s Department and the Visiting Nurse Association. Festivities include booths for activities and product samples, healthy food and snacks, music, face painting and a fitness program called ZumbaWorks.

JoAnne Finnegan, By the River Board Chairwoman helps paint kids' faces at last year's Back to School event

All donations are accepted and appreciated. Requested items include paper, tablets, pencils, pens, 3-ring binders, erasers, folders with pockets and monetary contributions. 2010 distribution of backpacks will go to grades: K-2 (300), 3-5 (200), 6-9 (250) and grades l0-l2 (50 backpacks). “Back to School” is a highlight of every student’s school year, complete with surprises and much needed new school supplies.
“It will be a great day with music, food and face painting and that very special feeling all of us remember when opening a brand new box of crayons, a new backpack and the start of a new school year,” said Ananda Devi, The River Fund’s Feed Everyone Program Director.
Individuals and business may donate supplies at the following drop off locations:

Back to School 2009 backpacks filled with school supplies

— Let’s Fill 800 Children’s Backpacks with New School Supplies —
            Gifford Youth Activity Center
            Indian River County Sheriff’s Office
            Indian River County North and South County Libraries
            Gifford Church
            Living Lord Lutheran Church
            Westminster Presbyterian Church
            Comcast Vero Beach
            Eye Clinic of Vero Beach (Miracle Mile)
            Christ by the Sea
            Curves in Sebastian
Freddie Woolfork, development director at the Gifford Youth Activity Center said this is not only about distributing supplies, but also providing information about community services and encouraging literacy. “Everyone comes together to help kids in our area. Parents want to give their kids the best and that’s not always possible. We hope the kids are happy, the parents are happy and that the event is fantastic.” 
For more information or to donate, please contact Ms. Ananda Devi at 772-589-8334.