Back to School Bash in Gifford gets hundreds of kids ready to learn

By Lisa Zahner GIFFORD – All summer, local residents have been donating money and school supplies to equip hundreds of kids for the first day of classes on Aug. 24. This morning from 10 a.m. to noon, the Gifford Youth Activity Center hosts its annual Back to School Bash at 4875 43rd Avenue to give away all those pencils, notebooks calculators, backpacks and other needed items.This event always draws a crowd, but considering families’ extra-tight budgets this year and the many things children need when they show up at school, the GYAC expects to run out of supplies before the two-hour bash is over. There was no pre-registration requirement, but children do need to bring a parent along in order to receive the donated supplies. The GYAC has also been collecting gently used school uniforms for redistribution to children who need new clothes to start the school year.According to Freddie Woolfork, who heads up the Back to School Bash and marketing efforts for the GYAC, the bash is about more than just giving away supplies, it’s a celebration of learning and a community-building event for his kids.”It’s a great way for everyone to get together, the kids with the parents and enjoy the event and the hot dogs,” Woolfork said.Many local businesses have helped with the supply collection by hosting drop-off sites and by making cash contributions. Collection boxes have been available at Riverside Bank, Indian River Federal Credit Union, Piper Aircraft, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, Northern Trust and the Visiting Nurse Association Hidden Treasures Thrift Shop.Sparky the fire prevention dog will help hand out the supplies on behalf of Indian River County Fire Rescue. Other local agencies will also be on hand to assist with the event and to provide educational materials to Gifford families.Anyone who did not get a chance to help with this effort who wishes to make a tax-deductible donation to the GYAC to benefit its many educational programs to help at-risk and economically disadvantaged youth in our area should call Woolfork at (772) 794-1005, ext. 34.

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