Dist. 11 hosts back-to-school event to outfit kids

Arms laden with clothes, food and school supplies, families left Anoka-Hennepin schools Aug. 4 ready for the first day of classes, less than a month away.

Anoka High School cheerleader Mikayla Minikus volunteered at Anoka-Hennepin’s back-to-school event with the rest of her team Aug. 4. Minikus sorts backpacks stuffed with supplies for elementary students. Photos by Olivia Koester
Anoka High School cheerleader Mikayla Minikus volunteered at Anoka-Hennepin’s back-to-school event with the rest of her team Aug. 4. Minikus sorts backpacks stuffed with supplies for elementary students. Photos by Olivia Koester

The Anoka-Hennepin School District put on its fourth-annual back-to-school event for families in need Monday at three sites: Anoka High School, Coon Rapids High School and Evergreen Park World Cultures Community School in Brooklyn Center.

At the event, district families could collect gently used clothing, food packs, backpacks full of crayons and notebooks, and more, free of charge. They had the opportunity to visit a health and wellness area and get haircuts, too.

The district intended to serve more than 3,700 families Monday.

With some community agencies discontinuing their back-to-school programs this year, Anoka-Hennepin planned for its event to grow by more than 50 percent, according to a press release from district communication staff.

At Anoka High School, 30 volunteers arrived to set up and serve at the event as a line grew outside. The event ran at all three sites from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., but many families arrived hours before the event started to wait for the doors to open.

Stacey Booth’s family didn’t have to wait in line too long, she said, calling the event “helpful.”

Booth’s sixth-grade daughter Serenity was astounded by the number of donations, she said.

“They have a lot of backpacks,” Serenity’s younger brother Rodney said, smiling and clutching his new gray one.

Volunteers at AHS had 1,600 backpacks to distribute. The selection featured a variety of colored and patterned backpacks so that students could pick one that fit their style.

Clothing and school supplies were donated through the Anoka-Hennepin School District, Faith and Community Partnership.

Food packs were assembled at the 2014 3M Championship golf tournament.

Various community organizations were on hand Monday to distribute information to families.

Many stopped at the Anoka County Library’s table to learn about Homework Rescue, a program that provides online tutoring for students seven days a week, free with a library card.

“This is always a good day,” AHS Principal Mike Farley said as he greeted families arriving at the event.

Families had the opportunity to take home some gently used clothing as part of District 11’s back-to-school event Aug. 4. Volunteer Ruth Boyle, left, and Anoka High School Assistant Principal Susan Hagerty, right, help a young boy select his backpack for the 2014-2015 school year. Left to right, Kaleah Lewis and Amyah Thomas pose with their new backpacks, furnished by District 11. The district expected to serve more than 3,700 families at its back-to-school event Aug. 4. Free backpacks, clothing, haircuts and more were available at three sites: Anoka High School, Coon Rapids High School and Evergreen Park World Cultures Community School. Sarah Alhasnawi, of JCPenney’s Salon in Coon Rapids, cuts sixth-grader Serenity Booth’s hair at District 11’s back-to-school event Aug. 4. Serenity asked for side-swept bangs. Backpacks sent home with Anoka-Hennepin students were stuffed with supplies – crayons, markers, notebooks, pencils and more.
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Left to right, Kaleah Lewis and Amyah Thomas pose with their new backpacks, furnished by District 11. The district expected to serve more than 3,700 families at its back-to-school event Aug. 4. Free backpacks, clothing, haircuts and more were available at three sites: Anoka High School, Coon Rapids High School and Evergreen Park World Cultures Community School.

Olivia Koester is at [email protected]