The sixth annual Back to School Bash will be Saturday, July 30, to give out school supplies, shoes and socks and haircut vouchers to students.
The event is 9 a.m.-1 p.m., or until the supplies run out, at the Springdale Recreation Center, 260 S. Plantation Road, Lancaster. The bash is a collaborative effort by churches, businesses and organizations in the county to help students in need prepare for school.
Students in kindergarten through 12th grade are invited to come to the recreation center to get backpacks, school supplies and more. Supplies are limited, with only 85 sets of new shoes and socks and 100 haircut vouchers available on a first-come, first serve basis.
While going back to school is exciting, it is also expensive, especially with rising inflation leading to higher costs across the board.
It is especially difficult for the families of the 53% of students in Lancaster County School District who live in poverty, with that figure over 90% at some county elementary schools, according to 2020-21 data from the district’s School Report Card.
“It is sad to know that not all kids get that first-day white shoe, fancy backpack and other essentials experience,” and may not look forward to that day like the more fortunate do, said Derek Farley, one of more than 100 volunteers for the event. “The Back to School Bash levels the playing field for those in need.”
He said a team of volunteers ranging from age 16 to 85, delivered a truckload of goods Wednesday for the Saturday event.
There is no need to pre-register online, as in previous years.
“The Back to School Bash is looking forward to another great year of reaching our greater Lancaster community,” said the Rev. Mallory Nickerson with the Back to School Bash Coalition and pastor of Belair and Osceola United Methodist churches. “Our partnership with Lancaster County Parks and Recreation has been so fruitful and we’re grateful to all our donors, volunteers and partners for helping to organize the event.”
Last year, about 650 students received shoes, backpacks and school supplies.
“We’re prepared for 750 this year,” Nickerson said.
Back to School Bash partners include Belair, Hopewell, Osceola and Pleasant Hill United Methodist, Pleasant Valley Baptist and Van Wyck Presbyterian churches; Indian Land and Lancaster Rotary Clubs; Lancaster County government and Lancaster County Parks and Recreation; P&J Sales; and Sun City Carolina Lakes residents.
Jillian Long contributed to this article.