Siblings Sumay, left, and JJ Potgieter prepare for a new school year complete with new book bags during the Love INC Back-to-School Fair Saturday afternoon in Alice Pleasant Park. The two are home-school students, entering fifth and seventh grades, respectively, and they also attend Calvary Baptist School.

Photo by Andy Bockelman

Siblings Sumay, left, and JJ Potgieter prepare for a new school year complete with new book bags during the Love INC Back-to-School Fair Saturday afternoon in Alice Pleasant Park. The two are home-school students, entering fifth and seventh grades, respectively, and they also attend Calvary Baptist School.

Back-to-School Fair sends off Craig students well supplied

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— That week between the end of summer vacation and the beginning of a new school year can be a hectic one for parents, which is why local groups offered a way to ease the transition during the weekend.

Love INC of the Yampa Valley hosted its second annual Back-to-School Fair on Saturday in Alice Pleasant Park in downtown Craig, offering a convenient, one-stop location for families to handle many of the things that they need before sending children on their way to a new grade.

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Evan Lay, 5, receives a new backpack from Love INC volunteers Nancy Rogers, left, Julia Foster, Pam Lathrop and Cindy Reynolds during the Love INC Back-to-School Fair on Saturday afternoon in Alice Pleasant Park. Love INC gave away hundreds of backpacks and school supplies donated by local businesses.

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Jennifer Crain and daughter Julianna, 6, take a break from the face-painting booth belonging to Apostolic Lighthouse Church during the Love INC Back-to-School Fair on Saturday afternoon in Alice Pleasant Park. A number of churches were part of the effort, which provided school supplies and other essentials to children who attended.

Love INC — Love in the Name of Christ — provided a plethora of donated school supplies, filling nearly 300 backpacks and book bags with items like notebooks, pencils and more for any kids in need of such materials.

“I love seeing the smiles on their faces when they come up to get one,” said Love INC volunteer Cindy Reynolds.

Pat Jones, Love INC director, said businesses like Walmart, Walgreens, Family Dollar and more have been a great help to the effort, which also included free snacks and games throughout the day. Tables with donated, gently-used clothes were on-site for families in need, as well as children’s winter gear, like gloves, mittens, hats and scarves for any who might want to get a jump on the colder months.

“We could always use some more of those donations,” Jones said.

Love INC also will provide winter clothing during a coat drive in October.

Elsewhere in the park, local stylists offered free haircuts for kids, while Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association had personnel available for necessary immunizations.

Jacque Malley, a registered nurse, said she was unable to provide many immunizations during the day because few parents had their child’s records handy.

“Moms, be sure to keep those because the kids will need them their whole lives,” she said.

VNA and other outlets still have services available for children needing immunizations.

Boys & Girls Club of Craig staff members were also on hand, providing some fun, as well as information about their organization’s activities during the fall, winter and spring months.

“Supporting families as they head back to school, I think that’s what we’re all trying to do,” Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Dana Duran said. “I love seeing them ready to start the school year. Pat did an awesome job putting all this together.”

A number of churches manned booths at the fair, as well, with engaging activities such as face-painting, a ring toss and more.

“That’s what it’s all about for us is getting the local churches to come together and help people,” Jones said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

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