Hundreds of free school supplies ready for eager (maybe) back-to - KOAM TV 7

Hundreds of free school supplies ready for eager (maybe) back-to-school students


Chances are more kids in the Neosho area may not be excited to go back to school, but they'll be more prepared.

"Shoes aren't cheap," says Persis Shafer, a Granby resident.

Backpacks can be costly, too, for a family in need.  Shafer has six kids.

"Me and my husband both work, but it can be hard still," says Shafer.

A back-to-school supply event is a lesson on meeting the challenges of people like Shafer.  Shafer has already explained how shoes can be a drain on the budget.  The "We Care Fair" has 652 free pairs of shoes.  

There are also jeans.

"Kids outgrow that," says Shafer.

Then there are free backpacks, one-thousand of them, full of supplies and divided up into groups of grades.

"The kindergarten, pre-k grades, they need crayons, scissors.  The third through fifth grades, that's when you move up into the colored pencils.  The sixth through eighth grades bags, they needed index cards," says event organizer Shilo Bridges.

Fair organizers tried to also cover the high schoolers who rely mostly on computers for work.

"We put hygiene packs in the backpacks," says Bridges.

And if you're the stubborn type of teenager who refuses to wear a jacket when it's cold out, the We Care Fair also offers hoodies.

"It's not everything they need, but it's a good start," says Shafer.

More people this year are starting with the We Care Fair for back-to-school shopping, compared to the fair's previous six-year history.  650 people have already pre-registered for supplies.  Last year, there were about 600 pre-registrations.

"Just teaches you something about life," says Shafer.  "You don't know the ups and downs that life has, and you never know what tomorrow is going to give."

These supplies, donated from people throughout the community, are a symbol that people are willing to help, no matter life's struggles.

The fair will be Saturday at the Abundant Life Church in Neosho from eight until 11 in the morning.  The fair will also have free haircuts, among many other things.  People should park at the Newton County Health Department, where shuttle vans will take them to the church.


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