About 3,700 students sign up for free supplies

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The United Way of Northeast Mississippi is less than two weeks away from giving out free school supplies to students in need from around the region.
As of Friday, more than 3,700 kids from at least 10 counties were registered for the giveaway, according to Susie Morgan, United Way’s director of marketing and communications. The organization hopes to have 4,000 students registered for the July 28 event.
The United Way had its first back-to-school resource fair last year. About 3,000 students in need got free school supplies.
Students must be registered before the event to get supplies. Morgan said the backpacks this year are in a variety of colors and will have basic supplies of pencils, crayons, paper, notebooks and other items.
“When they register, they get a backpack and school supplies, but there’s so much more that day,” Morgan said.
The agency will have a limited number of vouchers for free haircuts. Plus, vendors will have free vision and hearing screenings. Nearly 50 booths will be set up and manned by agencies geared at kids, their parents and their grandparents.
The event at BancorpSouth Arena also will have inflatable bounce houses and other activities for the kids.
The fair is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 28. It’s open to students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Students must preregister to get a backpack. Register at (662) 841-9133 or www.unitedwaynems.org.
Morgan said students must be accompanied by an adult and the student must be present to get a backpack.
The United Way still is seeking sponsors for the backpacks. Each supply-filled backpack costs $10. The organization needs $40,000 to supply all the backpacks. As of Friday, the total raised was just over $20,000.
Morgan said United Way is grateful for the financial donations so far from businesses, community groups and individuals who have donated.
“When you help a child get started in the right way when they are young, it helps them get excited about school and gets them off to a really great start,” she said.

Click video to hear audio