• Holyoke Back to School Event to give away 2,000 backpacks full of supplies
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File photo Holyoke, 8/17/12 - Holyoke businesses and organizations are collecting school supplies for the 2019 back to school event held in Holyoke every year. Hundreds of families attended the South Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative's event where free school supplies were handed out at Morgan Elementary School. Here, Heather Canady and Rosa Maldonado-Brown hand out supplies.
File photo Holyoke, 8/17/12 – Holyoke businesses and organizations are collecting school supplies for the 2019 back to school event held in Holyoke every year. Hundreds of families attended the South Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative’s event where free school supplies were handed out at Morgan Elementary School. Here, Heather Canady and Rosa Maldonado-Brown hand out supplies.

By Matt Berg | The Republican

Article Credit: MassLive

HOLYOKE — As summer winds down, students and families looking for a day of fun, free school supplies and free food are invited to the Back to School Event on Saturday at McNally Field.

As one of the largest back to school events in the area, organizers are expecting thousands of people to attend, and they’re encouraged to come early — the first 2,000 students to arrive will receive a backpack full of school supplies.

“What we’re trying to do is give kids a shot at success and connect them with positive, caring adults in the community,” said Edward Caisse III, the unit director at the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, who leads the Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative (HSNI) that is hosting on the event.Holyoke businesses, organizations accepting school suppliesThe 2019 Pack the Backpack School Supply Drive will be used for the annual Back to School event held at McNally Field on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 from 1 to 5 p.m.

HSNI, which is in partnership with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, hosts the event every year, aiming to celebrate the beginning of the new school year while creating a fun and safe environment for students and their families.

“As the role of the sheriff’s office has evolved from care while in custody to prevention before incarceration, this initiative is another way we are preventing kids from going down the wrong path and encouraging them to do the right thing,” said Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi.

From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., the event will have a bounce house, a rock climbing wall, water slides, live music ensuring that families have a variety of ways to relax before the school work begins.

The event’s top sponsors include MassMutual, Macy’s and Sudexo.

Other sponsors include Cradle to Crayons, Holyoke Public Schools, Holyoke Police Department, Holyoke Fire Department, Hood, Ocean State Job Lot, Peoples Bank, Comcast, Carlos Vega Foundation for Social Justice, Bethany Assembly of God, Holyoke Gas & Electric, Adam Quenneville Roofing, Holyoke Medical Center, Pedal Thru Youth, Boy Scouts of America, Action Ambulance, Soto Home Care, Flight, Fit & Fun, Holyoke Parks and Recreation, Gandara and Habitation Church of Holyoke.

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