BOONE — With the seventh annual Back 2 School Festival a month away, event organizers, including Director Kendra Sink, are trying to raise the second half of the $47,000 needed to meet the needs of more than 1,200 returning students.

“We have commitments that bring us to about half of our goal; we only have three weeks to raise these funds,” Sink said. “I know we can do it; our community has always rallied together in the past to make it happen.”

The Back 2 School Festival — scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10, at Watauga High School — provides local students with school supplies for the upcoming year.

“The Back 2 School Festival was founded on the belief that every child deserves to start the school year feeling confident and prepared,” Sink stated. “If a family struggles to afford food for their families, think of the burden that back to school shopping puts on these families. We want every child in our community to be proud on that first day of school.”

According to Sink, 34.5 percent of the 4,700 students who are enrolled in Watauga County Schools qualify for free and reduced lunch.

“(We) believe that by investing in our children now, we are investing in our community’s future,” Sink explained. “By giving them the school supplies that they need to be good students, they will become good employees and community leaders.”

The 2018 Back 2 School Festival resulted in more than 1,000 students and families receiving backpacks, supplies, athletic shoes, haircuts and other school essentials.

“It is exciting to see all the kids having lunch after they have been through the supply room,” Sink said. “You can feel the excitement as they are looking over their new backpacks and all its contents. Many times, these moments have been compared to watching kids on Christmas morning and the goosebumps you get seeing their joy.”

To donate or to learn more about volunteering, hosting a booth, collecting supplies or becoming a sponsor, visit back2schoolfestival.org. Checks are also accepted at P.O. Box 102, Boone, N.C., 28607. For more information, call (828) 434-0399.

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