Just as school days themselves will look differently from anything we’ve seen in the past, the signature event preceding those days — Back 2 School Festival — will itself be conducted largely as a drive-through affair in a way that is conducive to public health.

What remains the same even days before that Aug. 7-8 event is the lingering level of need. About $10,000 in donations is still needed to meet “unprecedented need in our community,” organizer officials say.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on individual finances for months, and this year that reckoning comes due at a time that is already typically difficult for struggling High County families — outfitting our children for going back to school.

In previous years, the numbers of families relying on assistance from this event has been growing annually: In 2019, more than 1,200 Watauga County students benefitted in terms of supplies, services and shoes.

There is little doubt, given massive national layoffs and a stalled local economy, that this year will show significantly more need.

If you have the means and desire, our students need your assistance. Learn more about donating or benefitting from the festival at www.back2schoolfestival.org.

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