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Free backpacks, food to be distributed in Capac



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August 20, 2008
CAPAC — Come Friday, Capac Elementary School will become a one-stop back to school hot spot.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the Community Foundation of St. Clair County and the Port Huron Hospital Foundation Health Team will host their annual Back to School 2008 free backpack giveaway.

Organizers say with the economic pinch everyone is feeling, they're prepared for a robust turnout.

"With the economy, the need is much greater this year," Susan Ellerkamp, program officer with the Community Foundation said.

Last year, they readied 550 backpacks filled with school supplies. This year, they'll have 610 to hand out. Families from Yale are also invited to take part in Friday's event.

The program is intended for low income residents. To receive the backpacks and supplies, families must supply proof of residency in St.Clair County and the children to receive the supplies must be present. Preschool packets containing a reading book, coloring books and crayons will also be offered.

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Backpacks, school supplies and more will be part of a giveaway Friday at Capac Elementary School.
Also, a food bank truck from Mid-City Nutrition, in partnership with CSB Bank, will be onsite distributing items and the Salvation Army will be handing out clothing vouchers for two outfits per child.

The foundation says it only takes $13 per child to get them the necessary supplies. The Community Foundation's Women's Initiative created the program and will distribute 3,300 backpacks this year alone. Similar events were held in Algonac, Port Huron and East China earlier this week.

Those interested in helping with the Back to School program can still make monetary donations to the Community Foundation, Ellerkamp said.

"If we can do more backpacks, we will," she said.

Volunteers who wish to assist at the school on Friday are welcome too. Members of the Port Huron Hospital Foundation's community health team staff the event and can always use help, health team representative Sara Tait said.

There's especially a need for volunteers to help families transport items from the food bank truck to their vehicles.

"It's a very rewarding event," Tait said.

"We typically do a lot of programs with men, women and seniors so this gives us an avenue to help kids out."

Those interested in helping can contact Tait at (810) 710-0267 or show up at the school at 10 a.m.

Generous donations from the community make the program possible. Most recently, Ellerkamp said Chase Bank contributed $20,000 to Back to School 2008.

For more information, contact the Community Foundation at (810) 984-4761 or visit www.stclairfoundation.org.

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