OACAC prepares for community back to school fair events

Jessi HawkinsVolunteer Spotlight

Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 9:45 AM CDT

Heading back to school is going to look different this year for many people. The Ozark Area Community Action Cooperation (OACAC) is hoping to ease the transition with its annual back to school fair. The fair is in several of OACAC’s servicing counties across Southwest Missouri.

Some counties will be giving out supplies by appointments, and others like Dallas and Greene County are switching to a drive-thru format.

Resource Development Manager, Lindsey Dumas-Bell said although the pandemic made the planning process a little rocky, they wanted to make sure the kids didn’t miss out. She said the community stepped up to ensure that students were able to get a significant number of quality supplies. However, this year the organization is adding something new to its supply list, custom made masks.

“We put a call out for masks donations and had so many people come forward with donations so all kids will get a mask for the school year,” Said Dumas-Bell.

Saturday, August 15 will mark the OACAC Greene County Center’s third annual back to school fair for kindergarten to 12th-grade students. .

The most prominent change families will notice this year is that it’s all drive-thru style. OACAC’s Greene County Assistant Supervisor, Cassie Melvin, said it is essential to keep the tradition alive, especially now. Organizers have prepared more than a hundred bags to distribute. Melvin said students will still get to pick their backpack and have that fun experience. There will also be music and ice cream. The typical resource booths at the fair were sent through virtual video this year. Melvin said the best part about this year is that they are able to do and give more than previous years.

“It’s just a lot more than normal because people were a lot more generous because they knew things were hard right now,” said Melvin.

She added that money might be tight for many families; and the goal is to make sure parents don’t have to worry about school supplies.

OACAC school fair dates are:

Greene County: August 15

Dallas County: August 19

Polk and Christian counties will be giving out supplies with appointments rather than at an event.

OACAC’s Neighborhood/Community Centers in Lawrence, Stone, Taney, and Webster are supporting school fair events being hosted by other organizations. They will also be providing masks to students.

Dumas-Bell said although registration is closed for a few counties, you can contact the OACAC Center in your area, and they will connect you with the appropriate resources to help make sure your child is ready for school.

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