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Kids get their picks during annual backpack giveaway

PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — Hundreds of kids got the tools they need for school on Friday, all thanks to the generosity of a community that furnished 500 backpacks full of supplies.

Parents told News 8 the gift of supplies was a huge help for them.

Even public school isn’t cheap when you consider the supply list, book rental fees, the list goes on. Multiply that by several children, and it adds up quickly.

The best part for kids was picking out their own backpacks.

But instead of unwrapping paper and ribbon at Christmas, kids were unzipping their cloth book bags. Folders, pencils and crayons might be standing in for trucks and dolls, but the excitement is just as real.

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Grayson Anderson, 4, squealed with delight as he pulled a three-pack of pink erasers.

“I even got these,” he said. “It’s for me.”

He and his brother Dash, 6, were among those getting to pick out their own backpack for the year at the Plainfield Community Schools’ annual Backpack Drive.

For their mother Kayla, it’s a nice treat.

“We’re a one-income household, so it helps to be able to have that little help to get us through the start of the school year,” she said.

Dash’s school fee is well over $100, plus other expenses.

“It’s quite a bit,” said Kayla Anderson. “You make it work because you have to, but every penny counts.”

The giveaway was open to all, thanks to four local businesses or nonprofits providing funds or holding a supply drive. No questions asked or income requirements.

This is the third year for the drive, the biggest yet with 500 backpacks.

“The backpack is usually the most expensive part,” said Sabrina Kapp, director of communications for Plainfield Community Schools. “At least we can make sure that when they start school, they have a backpack they love.”

Everyone here is thankful for the generosity of others to make it happen.

“Really grateful for this,” said Kayla.

“We couldn’t do this on our own,” added Kapp. “Whether you just bought folder or a case of something or anything in between, it’s everybody working together to support our community and we think that’s what makes Plainfield special. So we’re very appreciative.”

Grayson put his bookbag on with a little help and gave a grin that really says it’s like Christmas in July.

“You can see the smiles on their faces. It sparks up his day, so that’s all I could ask for,” said Kayla.

There’s still about 150 backpacks left. Every year, they are dropped off at the Plainfield Guilford Township Library, where families can stop by and pick up their own.

Organizers hope this year the supply will last until the end of the year, in case some kids’ bags wear out, or new families move to the area.

Donations for this year’s backpack drive were spearheaded by four groups: United Way, Project Hope New York, Bassett Services Inc.,and the Plainfield Chick-Fil-A, which held a donation drive that resulted in 200 bookbags alone.

Upcoming school supply giveaways around central Indiana

SATURDAY, JULY 27

Back to School Family Day starts at 8:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the Marion County Health Department, 3838 N. Rural St. Each child gets a free backpack with school supplies. Free immunizations, health screenings and sports physicals are available — bring shot records and insurance information if interested. The event runs alongside the IFD Safety Festival. Both end at noon.

The Care Center Community Fair runs from 9 a.m. to noon at Grace Church in Noblesville, 5504 E. 146th St. Backpacks with school supplies, bike repairs, shoes, haircuts, medical services, car checkups and food will be available.

The Decatur Township Back to School Supply Giveaway starts at 10 a.m. at Blue and Gold Academy, 5650 Mann Road, and continues until noon. Organizers hope to hand out 700 backpacks filled with supplies.

The Back to School Bash from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Westminster Neighborhood Services, 2325 E. New York St., will include a cookout, free backpacks and school supplies for kids and even school uniforms and shoes.

The National Urban League Conference’s Community and Family Day from 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Indiana Convention Center. Attendees have a chance to receive free backpacks and school supplies, health screening, local produce, legal aid and college readiness information, in addition to entertainment and games.

SUNDAY, JULY 28

Kids are invited to the Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair St., from noon to 2 p.m. for the 14th Annual Catch the Stars Back to School Celebration, with food, fun and a backpack giveaway.

TUESDAY, JULY 30

Hancock County Community Night, from 4-8 p.m. at the Hancock County Fairgrounds, 620 Apple St., will feature free school supplies, car seats and fruits and vegetables for those in need. Food, drinks, bounce houses and other activities will be provided.

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