MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Students needing backpacks and extra supplies for the coming school year can find them at two events this weekend.
The seventh annual "Back 2 School Bash" will run 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Rotary Park, at the corner of South 24th and Elgin streets.
First United Methodist Church will distribute backpacks with school supplies 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Muskogee Public Schools will provide supplies for all students from Early Childhood Center through 12th grade this school year. Distribution will be at each school site at the beginning of the year.
At Hilldale Public Schools, Economy Pharmacy will provide school supplies for all second-graders, Hilldale superintendent Erik Puckett said. School supply lists for all other grades are posted on the district's website, www.hilldale.k12.ok.us.
Bash organizer Carnelle Brooks said approximately 250 backpacks with basic school supplies will be distributed, first-come, first-served. He said the supplies include pencils, paper, folders and erasers.
Students from any school district may come.
"You always need paper and pencils and erasers," he said.
Brooks said he has seen the Bash grown to help more than 300 youngsters.
"I've been doing this because the community needs something to give back to these kids," he said. "A lot of kids are unfortunate and don't have things. "I just wanted to give back to my community. It's something I wish I had when I was coming up. I was blessed, so I want to be able to bless others."
This year's Bash will feature a Super Soaker Wars, inviting visitors with water shooters to squirt and soak each other. He said the shooting will be around the middle of the event. Other festivities include a shoot-out at the park's basketball court and inflatable games.
Free food includes brisket, pulled pork, hot dogs, hot links, pasta salad, baked beans and drinks.
First United Methodist member Jennifer Eckerson said students from surrounding districts, such as Okay, pick up backpacks.
"We're going to have hygiene products for those people who already have supplies," Eckerson said.
Backpacks are available for pre-kindergarten through high school, she said. The child must be accompanied by a parent.
Spaulding writes for Muskogee Phoenix, a CNHI News Service publication.