By Matthew Saari

School is scheduled to start in a little more than a month, so it’s time to think about gathering school supplies – the backpacks, rulers, folders, pencils, crayons and more – to get kids ready for a year of learning.

All of those supplies can be obtained free of charge at this year’s local Backpack Project giveaway, set for Saturday, Aug. 8, from 10 a.m. to noon in the Knights of Columbus building.

The project is aimed at children pre-K through grade 12 in the Granville, Wells and Mettawee Community School districts, but organizer Ann Schinski said no families that need supplies for their children will be turned away.

“I hope I have enough stuff,” said Schinski.

The backpack giveaway is in its 14th year of providing school supplies for area children. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing measures will be in place.

The backpack drive is based on donations; Schinski said she and volunteers collect items year-round. Some businesses and local people donate money and others bring bags already filled with supplies.

Supplies include folders, binders, pencils, erasers, markers, crayons, color cooks, filler paper, notebooks, glue sticks, index cards and more.

Schinski started the event in 2006, after her husband Steven passed away following an illness.

In its first year there were 50 backpacks and they were gone in 45 minutes. This year, there are enough backpacks for 250 children.

Children should be present when attending the backpack drive. Those interested in donating items or volunteering at the drive can contact Schinski at 802-287-2787. Contributions can be mailed to The Backpack Project, c/o Ann Schinski, 5075 VT Route 31, Poultney, VT 05764.

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