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Saturday event to equip students for classroom

Aug. 01, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- Several thousand Tri-State Area kids can get a head start on getting school supplies at 10 a.m. Saturday in Ironton, when more than 2,100 backpacks will be given away as part of the 9th annual Tools 4 Schools and Summerfest at 6th and Center streets.

Four Ironton churches -- St. Paul Lutheran Church, First United Methodist, Christ Episcopal and First Presbyterian -- have collected and supplied more than 1,000 backpacks that will be given away Saturday. Volunteers from All Saints Lutheran Church of Worthington, Ohio, also will be in town Saturday with another 1,000 backpacks to be given away for students from preschool through high school.

Members of the Columbus area Lutheran church started the giveaway program 10 years ago and it has been growing ever since, said Nancy Corn, a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church. First United Methodist Church also provides inflatable games, hot dogs and water as part of the Summerfest on Saturday.

"There seems to be a great need for this," Corn said. "The kids can pick out their own backpacks. The supplies are all age appropriate."

Her husband, Mike Corn, said most of the students participating in the program are from the Ironton and Rock Hill school districts. South Point, Dawson-Bryant and Symmes Valley students also participate as do students from Kentucky and the Huntington area.

"We get them from all over," he said.

"This has been growing every year," Nancy Corn said. "It's very rewarding to participate in this. The kids are so excited. If we have any left over, we'll distribute them to the school systems."

"We're a small congregation, but we get a lot of community support," she said. "Bartram's and Food Fair set out baskets for people to donate school supplies. All the Century 21 real estate agents are bringing a backpack."

Mike Corn said the church collects donations throughout the year and sells raffle tickets to help pay for the backpacks,, folders, pencils and other school supplies.

In the past eight years, about 13,800 backpacks stuffed with school supplies have been given away.

Anyone wishing to make a donation for the program can send a check to St. Paul Lutheran Church/Tools 4 Schools, P.O. Box 601, Ironton, Ohio, 45638.