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Dawson County School System, community partners give out backpacks to students in need
A volunteer stands with the backpacks being handed out to local students in Dawson County before the beginning of the 2021-22 school year.

Right before school started back in the beginning of August for the 2021-22 school year, administration from the Dawson County School System partnered with several local organizations to provide backpacks full of school supplies to local students in need.

According to Niki Mincey, family service coordinator for the school system, she and other school administrators partnered with Family Connection Stuff the Bus, The Place of Forsyth and Dawson and Browns Bridge Church to help collect school supplies and backpacks for the students. 

Through school supply drives and donations from community members, the organizations were able to distribute the backpacks and school supplies to over 350 students. Mincey said that in order to receive one of the backpacks, a student had to meet certain qualifications first. 

“They had to either receive free or reduced lunch, food stamps, medicaid or other governmental assistance,” Mincey said, “or have a financial hardship.” 

Volunteers from the organizations involved in the distribution or from the community gathered to help collect the supplies and pack the backpacks, so all parents had to do was drive to a pickup location and get the backpack. 

Mincey said that the reception from the students and parents was one of excitement and gratitude. She added having a new backpack and supplies can make a huge difference in how they start into the new school year. 

“They are starting on track with a new bag and the school supplies they need,” Mincey said. “Some of the families may be financially behind, but their child will not start educationally behind with the supplies needed for a great new year.” 

Each backpack contained all the basic school supplies each student would need to start the year at whichever school they attended, including binders, paper, pencils, pens, earbuds or headphones and crayons.

The success of this year’s drive, Mincey said, was thanks to the school system’s community partners, including the organizations that pitched in time and resources and the volunteers that helped to donate supplies and help with distribution. 

“I’m very thankful for the donations and the volunteers that helped with packing and handing out all the bags,” Mincey said. “I could not have done it without them!”