GIPS back to school bash returns, hands out hundreds of backpacks

An annual tradition for GIPS made a few adjustments to help families in need
Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 11:32 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Grand Island Public Schools Families in Transition handed out hundreds of backpacks to students in need on Friday. They renewed their annual tradition at Fonner Park and did it drive-thru style.

Classes begin on August 13th, and the students are ready to be back.

“They miss the other kids,” said mother of four Madeleine Kirscheaun. “They miss the interaction.”

For parents, many aren’t ready to get back to the hustle and bustle of what school entails.

“I’m ready, but I’m not,” said Kirscheaun.

Even if folks aren’t prepared to send their kids back, the start date is right around the corner. GIPS Families in Transition host their annual back to school bash every year to help parents give their students what they will need throughout the school year.

“Knowing that these kids will be set for this year, whether they’re doing virtual school, in school - they have the items that they need; that’s one less thing the parents have to worry about, said Holly Boeselager, the GIPS Families in Transition Coordinator. “It’s really amazing.”

Volunteers passed out around 1,000 backpacks filled with supplies at the event that started at 2 p.m. Parents drove up and were asked how many they needed before being given backpacks based off their grade level.

The elementary school kids received pencil pouches, pens, crayons, glue-sticks, a spiral notebook and folder. The middle and high school aged kids received the same supplies except the crayons. In addition, they were given an additional spiral notebook and folder along with colored pencils and a binder.

“That is very good, thank you to whoever supplied them,” Kirscheaun said.

Every year before the bash, Families in Transition does a donation drive, and this year they didn’t get as many supplies as they normally would.

“This year was a little bit more difficult because of COVID-19,” said Boeselager. “We couldn’t stand at the stores and hand out flyers and have boxes out in the front. We didn’t get as many physical donations, but we got a lot of monetary donations.”

In addition to the backpacks, the Salvation Army also handed out lunches. Normally they come every year to make hot-dogs, but this time around they brought cold sandwiches to give out in sacks.

“They’re used to us being part of it and participating with the food, so I think it’s important that they have something normal right now,” said Lt. Liz Ayala of the Grand Island Salvation Army.

Within the first hour the majority of the backpacks were gone.

“We have had people lining up since noon, so they’ve been waiting patiently, and we’ve been able to get them going through, said Boeselager. “Our goal was to get rid of all 1,000 backpacks today.”

Copyright 2020 KSNB. All rights reserved.

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