FORT SMITH (KFSM)— With the first day of school less than three weeks away, Harvest Time wants to be sure kids have all the supplies they need.
Their fifth annual Backpack Giveaway got underway at 10 a.m. Saturday (Aug. 2) at the Walmart locations on Zero Street and Kelly Hwy.
“It’s just been great to watch, you know this many volunteers come out and give this many backpacks to so many people throughout the community,” Rachel Grant, volunteer said.
Grant’s son Gavin even helped out in the process too.
“Yesterday [my mom] went and packed all the backpacks and took them to here and got them all ready for this, and so I just felt like coming out here and helping,”
Volunteers began packing the backpacks on Monday (July 28). Over 65,000 items stuffed into the bags were purchased by Harvest Time through funds given to missions.
“We all understand that families struggle this time of year for school supplies, and we want to be a blessing , lift them up, encourage them, we believe in education, we think it’s important and so as a church we want to support education and families together,” Pastor Marty Sloan said.
The backpack giveaway is a community outreach tradition five years in the making. They were handed out on a first-come first-serve basis for any student going into kindergarten through the sixth grade.
“It is not our position to judge a person’s need,” Pastor Sloan said. “We want to be a blessing, it’s a blessing, and so It’s not a qualification, just a blessing opportunity.
The event lasted until noon. Organizers say all the backpacks were given away in a matter of a couple hours. They also delivered supplies to Mansfield and Arkoma Schools.