Generous Hands Hosts a Backpack Bonanza

By Madeleine Lakatos Fojtik

For those now in school, August was a time of new beginnings, preparing for the back to school daily routines, seeing friends again and of course homework.

To start this school year, income-qualifying children and their families needing free back-to-school supplies, lunch, snacks and free haircuts attended the annual Backpack Bonanza held on Saturday, August 24, at Lakeland Reformed Church in Vicksburg.

Sheri Louis, executive director of Generous Hands, Inc. in Vicksburg prepares for months, securing donations for the back to school bonanza event held traditionally before Labor Day.

Louis describes the word bonanza, in the Random House College Dictionary definition is “a source of great and sudden wealth or luck”. She goes on to say, “I am not sure a backpack full of school supplies would seem to be a source of great and sudden wealth to most of us, I do believe that for many of the children it certainly was. The smiles on the kids’ faces brought a source of great and sudden wealth to all of us volunteering at the Bonanza.”

This year’s Backpack Bonanza drew more than 139 children and their families from the Vicksburg, Schoolcraft and Climax-Scotts school districts to Lakeland Reformed Church. From a variety of backpack choices, the children received free backpacks stuffed with school supplies, coupons, free haircuts and other items.

Also provided was a free lunch served for more than 300 people by BUBS 73 Foundation. Those pre-registered for the event and unable to attend will pick up their backpacks at Generous Hands office in Vicksburg. Also at the event there were several activities and games for kids such as face painting and bingo.

“We truly appreciate the support of the community. This event could not happen without the many donations and all of the caring volunteers.” Louis said.

South County Community Center was helpful taking registration forms before the event and donated most of the backpacks and many of the school supplies.

Local churches donated many school supplies as well; Lakeland Reformed Church, Vicksburg United Methodist Church, St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church and Fulton Christian Church. Lakeland Reformed Church also helped finance the event and packed all

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