A young donor provides school supplies to United Way. Submitted photo

FARMINGTON — While United Way of the Tri-Valley Area is still accepting applications for the 8th annual Packs for Progress initiative (visit us on line at https://www.uwtva.org/what-we-do/projects/packs-for-progress/packs-for-progress-application to fill out your application on line), we are also gearing up for pick up day! Backpacks, filled with school supplies can be picked up at the United Way office at 218 Fairbanks Road between 9am and 4pm on Monday August 24th and Tuesday August 25th.

We will be limiting the number of people in the office at one time, observing 6 feet of physical distancing and regular sanitizing so please be patient and stay spread out! We know that ‘back to school’ may not look the same with the current pandemic, but no matter what your school situation is (virtual, in school, some combination of the two, home school….) kiddos will still need school supplies. At this time, United Way is also collecting:

Younger children’s backpacks (once again, thank to L.L. Bean, we have 100 middle school and high school backpacks already), composition books, 1 subject spiral notebooks, pocket tissue packs, individual hand sanitizers, 1 inch 3-ring binders, markers, colored pencils, pencils, pens, pencil sharpeners, and pencil top erasers.

Greater Franklin County has a high poverty rate and an even larger rate of students eligible for the free or reduced lunch program. Packs for Progress is an opportunity for parents to relieve even more of that economic burden while ensuring that their children will be ready for the school year.

Due to the very generous donations and funding received last year, the United Way provided 614 backpacks to area children, as well as 17 Tools for Teacher totes (one to each public school) and would love to make sure demand can be met this year as well, we are planning for 700 backpacks. This year Packs for Progress is sponsored by The Dugout Bar & Grill, Franklin Savings Bank, Hilltop Collision Centers with support from Rotary, many individuals, and supply drives from Franklin Memorial Hospital, Medulla’s Hair Salon and more.

This year, we will be unable to hold our big ‘stuffing event’ that is a highlight of this program. In an effort to still have 700+ backpacks ready to go, we are offering 7-8 mini-stuffing events to businesses, groups, etc. who may want their organization or group to participate in a team building, community serving experience. Please contact Nichole at 778-5048 to schedule a time. Time may be scheduled the week of August 17 and will be at the General Storage at 553 Town Farm Road (right next to EL Vining). Thank you so much to Kathy and Joe Gregory for generously donating their storage unit for all our school supplies.

For more information about the United Way, visit their website www.uwtva.org. Call (207) 778-5048; visit the office 218 Fairbanks Road, or check out Facebook (www.facebook.com/uwtva) and Instagram for up-to-date information.

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