Dan Donnelly Backpack Foundation members are preparing for the ninth annual backpack and school supplies party for area students Sunday, Aug. 5, in Pacific City Park.
The organization has accepted donations and held barbecue benefits to raise funds for backpacks and school supplies. Students must apply for the backpacks, giving their grade and gender.
The distribution will take place in the park swimming pool pavilion. This year more than 400 backpacks will be distributed to students who applied for them.
Cut-off date for applications was Friday, July 27, according to Donnelly.
Donnelly posted on his Facebook page that no more applications could be accepted for a backpack this year after that date.
“We have over 400 children from the community signed up for the party on Aug. 5,” Donnelly said. “We have only a small amount of slots available.”
Fifteen bicycles will be raffled. Youngsters wanting to be included in the raffle can put their name in the drawing for the bicycle of their choice. Two computers will be raffled in the same way.
“There are lots of other giveaways,” Donnelly said. “Yesterday Kathy Isom, manager of Pizza Hut, handed me two coupons for a free large pizza.”
Keith Bruns, Subway owner, will be on hand with 500 cookies.
The distribution event has grown into a family picnic in the park. The Backpack organization barbecues hot dogs and hamburgers and provides drinks for recipients and their families.
“The Eagles give us the meat for the picnic,” Donnelly said. “They’ve helped us from the first year of the program.”
Recipients are allowed to swim for free in the city pool during the party. Six hairstylists will be on hand to give free haircuts to boys and girls.
At 1 p.m., students can collect their backpacks. Tables containing the backpacks are set up according to grade where workers have an alphabetical list of students in that grade. Students can walk up, give their name, be verified on the list and receive their backpack.
“Heather (Jilley) and Jill (Pigg) have really done a great job setting that up,” Donnelly said. “They tell me it is the one day when I just get to walk around.”
During the year there are volunteers who assist, but the core of the organization is Donnelly, Larry Mueller, Sheri Jones, Heather and Jeff Filley, and Jill and Mike Pigg.