Desoto County News

Dream Center to hold back-to-school backpack event

1,000 backpacks and school supplies to be handed out

Photo: An example of the backpacks and some of the school supplies to be passed out during Saturday’s DeSoto County Dream Center giveaway at Latimer Lakes Park. (Bob Bakken/DeSoto County News)

A back-to-school supply list is sort of like reviewing a Christmas shopping list for a school youngster, figuring out what notebooks to get, what type of writing utensils to have, calculators, protractors, the list goes on. And then there’s getting that special backpack to put it all in.  

But for many DeSoto County parents of school age children, the price tag at the end of that list can be a bit intimidating.  

Enter the DeSoto County Dream Center, which will provide up to 1,000 DeSoto County students a chance to get their own coveted backpack and the supplies they need to start school with everything they need.  

This backpack and school supply giveaway is set for Horn Lake’s Latimer Lakes Park on Saturday, July 16, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., said Terri Sparkman of the Dream Center.

“It’s a great need in DeSoto County,” Sparkman said. “There’s a lot of families that are struggling and they need a little extra assistance, so we’re excited to be able to help.”

The Dream Center wants to reach out and help those families in particular, those who can be at or below the poverty level, so the schoolchildren most in need typically attend Title One schools. 

What was originally an activity for about 75-100 specifically served by the Dream Center, is Saturday to be opened up to reach out to more people.  

“It is for DeSoto County residents and students,” Sparkman explained. “A student must be present. We will have volunteer ‘shoppers’ there who will walk around with the students. They’ll have their own ‘shopper’ with them to help them pick out their own backpack and then they’ll have a list of school supplies for their grade that they can use to pick out what they want to add to their backpack.”  

Sparkman said there will be more than just backpacks and school supplies on Saturday, with food and fun going on. She said there are many people and organizations who have come forward to help the Dream Center with the giveaway.  

“We’ve been truly blessed by the Homer Skelton Foundation providing financially for us to be able to purchase the backpacks and school supplies,” Sparkman said. “We also have partnerships with Walmart and Target in Southaven and Horn Lake that have teamed up to assist us financially to help with the food, Compel Church and other individual donors to cover some of the food and activities that we will be having that day.”

Sparkman said more than 170 volunteers are helping on Saturday, including individuals, churches, businesses, clubs, schools and school groups.  

“We’re there to love on these families and to assist them to have fun and to be able to get them the different supplies that they need,” Sparkman said. “We want the kids to go back to school with the confidence that they’ve got everything they need to give them and not be embarrassed that they were given what they need.” 

Learn more about the DeSoto County Dream Center at their website.

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