Through the generosity of Cherokee County residents, a local nonprofit will be able to provide 2,500 backpacks full of school supplies to students in need in the county in preparation for the upcoming school year.

Give a Kid a Chance — Cherokee , operated entirely by volunteers, is holding its 16th annual backpack giveaway event on Saturday, July 17. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., volunteers will be handing out backpacks full of school supplies via drive-thru to Cherokee County students at Hillside United Methodist Church, at 4474 Towne Lake Parkway in Woodstock, and First Baptist Church of Canton, at 1 Mission Point.

Traditionally, Give a Kid a Chance has also offered students free haircuts, vision and dental exams, and food, said Nitasha Ginn, who chairs the organization’s backpack liaison board. But since the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve had to scale back and move to the drive-thru format.

In the last week collecting donations, Ginn and the other volunteers found they were short on funds, and needed to cover hundreds more backpacks. But “the community really came through for us, responding strong,” Ginn said, and Give a Kid a Chance surpassed its goal.

“We ended up receiving enough we were able to purchase additional items for more backpacks than we had initially planned for,” she said.

To register for the drive-thru event, call 404-480-2334 for English, or 706-659-0121 for Spanish. People are also welcome to drive up on the day of the event and receive supplies. The organization will give away backpacks as long as supplies last.

“We will have registration on site. We’ll take down information there so we can inform them when this comes around next year too,” Ginn said. “The only requirement we have is that those being helped must be a resident of Cherokee County.”

Supporting organizations who made the backpack giveaway possible, Ginn said, include Canton First Baptist, Hillside United Methodist Church, Revolution Church, the Cherokee County School District, the Rotary Clubs of Canton and Towne Lake, the Optimist Clubs of Canton and Towne Lake, 575 Fools and the Kiwanis Club of Greater Cherokee.

Children are full of joy and excitement at the giveaway event, getting to pick out a bag in their favorite color or with their favorite design on it and receiving the supplies they need, Ginn said. The supplies help them be that much more successful during the upcoming school year.

“You can’t ask for a better reaction than that,” Ginn said.

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