Locals gear up to head back to school

COVINGTON — Local organizations are getting ready for the third annual Back 2 School Downtown Covington Block Party.

From 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1, the community is invited to the Covington Square for entertainment, educational information and free school supplies in the park and around the Square.

• What: Back 2 School 2010 Downtown Covington Block Party, featuring entertainment, educational information and school supplies giveaway

• Who: All ages of students and their families (school supplies only for kindergartners through eighth-graders)

• When: 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1

• Where: Covington Square

• More Information: 770-385-2077 (Main Street Covington) or 770-786-4002 (Washington Street Community Center)

"The event itself has brought about great community support," said Bea Jackson, executive director of the Washington Street Community Center, a partner of the event along with Main Street Covington. "We have had a couple of thousand or more attend the event each year."

The biggest part of the event is the free school supplies giveaway, Jackson said.

This year, community organizations have collected basic school supplies found on the lists provided by the Newton County School System. The partners hope to fill 1,000 bags of school supplies for students in kindergarten through eighth grades, Jackson said.

"We are really advocating on behalf of the children," Jackson said. "We want to show them that the community is behind their academic success."

The event also features educational activities for children, interactive opportunities for all ages of students and information and resources about educational organizations, people and ideas. Students and their families also can tour the Square for games, exhibits, performances and displays.

"We have about 50 partners," she said. "Many of the same partners (from previous years) have returned."

Jackson said although the event sponsors are thankful for donations from local businesses, churches and other organizations, they still need more items for the event.

"Donations are down this year amidst the economy," she said. "We are in need. We'd like to be able to fill (the bags) with supplies."

Needed supplies include paper, pens, pencils, crayons, notebooks and other items on the supply lists.

"This has been a collective mission of wanting to see the success here of our youth in Newton County," Jackson said. "We couldn't do this without (those who donate items and their time). Every little bit helps."

Donations can be dropped off at the Washington Street Community Center on School Street in Covington or at the Main Street Covington offices, which are located at The Center at 2104 Washington St. in Covington. For more information, call Main Street Covington at 770-385-2077 and the Washington Street Community Center at 770-786-4002.