For some local families, going back to school can present some big challenges.
Finding affordable supplies, haircuts, backpacks and clothing can be daunting and the costs can add up.
Pathways Church and its partners (Breakthrough Covenant Church, Refuge Church, Grace Christian Fellowship, Bethesda, Goodwill Industries, and St Joseph’s Food Program, Inc.) will wrap up summer with a back-to-school project of their own: giving those families fewer things to check off their lists.
Their “Party in the Park Back to School Jam!” aims to bring community members and families together, ease the stress of the back-to-school rush and provide a little fun in the process.
The event offers lunch, clothing, shoes and haircuts to elementary-aged students and their families. It’s also a summer-end celebration with bounce houses, carnival games, face painting and more.
It takes place on Saturday, Aug. 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Pierce Park in Appleton.
The “Back to School Jam” has been running for the greater part of a decade. Since John Rossetti, volunteer for Pathways Church, started serving at this event since 2013, he has seen it grow into a sizable community outreach, thanks in part to sponsors, volunteers, and attendees.
“Last year we passed out over 500 backpacks and we estimate 2,000 to 3,000 people in attendance,” he said. “We’re hoping to top 100 volunteers this year and we’re always looking for more sponsors. Our partners and sponsors are helping us tremendously with volunteers, covering some of our costs and they have been very helpful with the planning of the event.”.
This year, Pathways partners with an organization called “Kits for Kidz” and offers the community a chance to play a big role at a small price. The cost of sponsoring a backpack that will provide one elementary-aged student with everything he or she needs to go back to school, is $20. Those interested in sponsoring backpacks can do so through by visiting the Pathways website. All donations are tax-deductible.
Those interested in volunteering can click here.
Anyone interested in attending the event and receiving a backpack can just simply show up.
The event is free and open to the public.