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Group seeking school supplies

A long-time educational event is looking for some help from the community this year.

The 2011 Back 2 School Block Party is looking for sponsors and donations for this year's event.

The block party, which is organized by Main Street Covington, is scheduled from 3 to 5 p.m. July 24 on Newton Drive between Anderson and Mill streets.

At A Glance

Requested supplies for the 2011 Back 2 School Block Party:

• 16-count crayons

• 12-count colored

pencils

• No. 2 pencils

• Mechanical pencils

• Blue and black ink pens

• Blunt scissors

• 3-ring binders

• Pocket folders with prongs

• Composition notebooks

• Pencil holders

• Spiral-bound notebooks

• Wide-rule notebook paper

• College-rule notebook paper

• Glue sticks

• 12-inch ruler

• Highlighters

• Ruled index cards

• Blank index cards

• Graph paper

• Dividers

• Erasers

*Supplies and donations can be dropped off at the Main Street Covington Office at 2104 Washington St. in Covington. Call 770-385-2077 or email mscovington@cityofcovington.org for more information on how to donate.

This year, event organizers are aiming to collect more than 28,000 school supplies for Newton County students in prekindergarten through eighth grades. Items include crayons, pens, pencils, folders and paper.

"We've got so many kids who don't have anything," said Jeff Meadors, co-chair of the event and a member of the Newton County Board of Education. "They didn't do anything. They are at the mercy of what has economically transpired."

He said nearly 69 percent of Newton County students receive a free or reduced-price lunch.

"This is the prime opportunity for you to do something for your community, especially if you're a service organization," said co-chair Shakila Henderson-Baker, also a member of the Newton BOE.

At this year's event, Newton County parents and students will come out to the event to register for supplies. Unlike in the past where they stood in long lines on the Covington Square, this year, they will fill out an information sheet and the supplies will be sent to the child's school.

Event organizers said this will help make sure the supplies stay in the county and that students and their parents will have time to visit booths at the event. This year, school clubs and community organizations plan to have information and representatives at the event.

Collected school supplies will go to students who register at the event.

"Every one of these kids are the future of this county," Meadors said. "Everybody has a stake, whether you have kids in the system, you have never had children or you have five students. It will take a lot of stress off teachers."

Remaining supplies will be divided up between Newton County's elementary and middle schools.

"Being a parent of elementary students, we are constantly getting emails from teachers and at PTO meetings asking for supplies," Baker said. "They are buying things from their own pockets."

Event organizers are asking area industries, businesses, community organizations and individuals to donate supplies to the event or participate in the event.

"Nothing is too little to give," Baker said. "Even if a person drops off one pack of pencils, it will help."

Organizations can sponsor the event by giving between $250 and $1,000. Donations are tax deductible for the 501(c)3 event.

Individuals and organizations also can give supplies, or they can have a booth or activity set up at the event; they would be required to bring their own tent, tables and supplies. Individuals also can help by packing materials and organizing the event.

"This is something that anybody can get behind," Meadors said.

Supplies and donations can be dropped off at the Main Street Covington Office at 2104 Washington St. in Covington.

More information about donating or being a part of the event is available by calling 770-385-2077 or emailing mscovington@cityofcovington.org.