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Back to School bash backpacks are ready

LIHU‘E — Nelly Caberto of the Kaua‘i Area Complex said Wednesday was “historic” during the packing of more than 2,700 backpacks with school supplies at Kukui Grove Center.

“We have 37 people signed up to help pack,” Caberto said. “This is more people than the Department of Education has ever sent. This is historic.”

The Kaua‘i Area Complex group, including school principals, teachers, students, Kaua‘i’s First Lady Monica Kawakami and Kaua‘i Board of Education member William “Bill” Arakaki made up more than half of the more than 75 people who worked on packing the backpacks that will be given away to students on Saturday during the Back to School Bash.

The backpacks, broken down into two sections, one being for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, and the other being for students in middle school and high school, contain school supplies gleaned from the public school’s list of Back to School supplies, and will be given away free to students who preregistered for the event.

“Preregistration and a wait list of 100 students were sold out within 24 hours,” said Melissa McFerrin Warrack of the Kukui Grove Center. “We’re giving everything away. Any unclaimed bags by the 2 p.m. finish will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 2:15 and continuing until all the bags are given away to students.”

Back to School Bash, which runs from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, is more than the free backpacks as different sponsors will host special booths that will have additional school supplies giveaways.

Caberto said there will be a booth taking care of the second distribution of period products.

“The theme is activity. There will be entertainment throughout the day, including the Hawai‘i Children’s Theater,” McFerrin Warrack said.

“Keiki to Career with Alice Luck will have a booth, and the Table 53/Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort will have an activity booth. There will be a car seat fitting station, and Bandwagon is setting up near Jamba Juice so keiki can hear themselves play.”

The Department of Education website indicates that Kaua‘i had an enrollment of more than 8,600 students attending 16 Kaua‘i public schools from K-12 at the start of the 2023. Students return to school on Aug. 5.

The 2024 Back to School Bash is made possible by Kukui Grove Center, Department of Education, Hawai‘i Foodservice Alliance with support from Kaiaulu (Kamehameha Schools), Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort (Table 53), Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative, Wilcox Health, Royal Sonesta Kaua‘i Resort, Kaua‘i Board of Realtor, KQNG, Keiki to Career, Hawai‘iUSA Federal Credit Union, HMSA, Sign Art, Earthworks Pacific, Hawai‘i Building Maintenance, Hawai‘i Family Dental, Aqua Engineers, Aloha Freight, Department of Water, Bayada Habilitation, Garden Isle Disposal, The Garden Island, and from Kukui Grove Center, Deli &Bread Connection, Kaua‘i Society of Artists, Pyramid Insurance Centre Wayne D. Medeiros and Kim Chee No. 9.

Another school supplies drive — this one benefiting Kaua‘i’s educators or teachers — will be taking place with Kumu’s Cupboard during Grove Farm Market on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The Grove Farm-sponsored space at the weekly farmers market will be led by Kumu’s Cupboard co-founder Elyse Litvack, who was part of the volunteers packing backpacks for the Back to School Bash.
Source: The Garden Island

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