LIHU‘E — Online registration for the 2021 edition of the Back to School Bash starts today at the Kukui Grove Center website, kukuigrovecenter.com.
The earlier you register school-aged keiki, the better your chances are of getting one of the free backpacks filled with school supplies. The previous editions of Back to School Bashes were all sold out well in advance.
The Seventh annual Back to School Bash and School Supplies Giveaway is scheduled for July 17, and has been expanded to meet this demand.
A partnership between KGC, Kaua‘i’s credit unions, the state Department of Education and community partners, the event is the island’s largest school-supplies giveaway, and is expecting to see an even greater need this year as school-aged youth prepare to return to classes following the pandemic closures.
Last year, outstanding community support in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic made it possible to provide more than 2,000 bags filled with school supplies directly to the students and their families. This was supplemented by more than 400 additional bags of supplies distributed in a drive-thru format in consideration of the pandemic restrictions.
“Based on the tremendous turnout last year, and the increased need in 2021 as students return to school, the Department of Education and Back-to-School Bash Planning Committee has set a new goal of 3,000 school supply bags for the students of Kaua‘i,” said Paul Zina, DOE Kaua‘i Complex Area superintendent.
Melissa McFerrin-Warrack, specialty leasing and marketing manager at KGC, said all of the returning sponsors from last year and additional sponsors who join the effort this year have made it possible to reach even more Kaua‘i students and families.
“Target is coordinating shipping supplies in from stores across the state,” said McFerrin-Warrack.
“This growth would not have happened without so many businesses and organizations stepping up. We have also received phone calls and emails from Delta Kappa Gamma, the Lions clubs, and other groups ready to volunteer and help pack the bags. It is so great to see how much the community is rooting for the kids and getting the new school year off to a strong start.”
Target, Kamehameha Schools, Island Metals, S&A Industries, the UPS Store and Spectrum are among the new sponsors that join the Kaua‘i’s credit unions, including Hawai‘iUSA Federal Credit Union that just blessed its Lihu‘e Branch Monday, and Wilcox Health, Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative, Kaua‘i Board of Realtors, Layton Construction and more, including other KGC tenants.
In consideration of COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, this year’s event is planned as a drive-thru, with advance online registration and pickup times throughout the day July 17. Face masks must be worn during pickup.
As more and more people get vaccinated, and as pandemic conditions improve, this year’s event will feature additional back-to-school specials by the KGC tenants, and some entertainment inside the center with the Bash team focused on keeping an eye on social distancing and face masks during pickup.
“This year’s event is a bit of a hybrid, incorporating the drive-thru format, but also bringing back more resources and tenant activities inside the center to put the fun back into back-to-school shopping,” McFerrin-Warrack said.
“We are working closely with the Department of Education, the Department of Health, shopping center tenants, sponsors and media partners for a memorable and socially-distanced giveaway with safety still at the forefront.”
Source: The Garden Island