By CLINT FOSTER
As the days inch closer to the start of another school year, parents everywhere have their own “laundry list” of to-dos and to-buys to get their kids ready. But not all families can afford all of the back-to-school necessities, so Mineral Wells has an annual opportunity to help solve that problem.
The 16th annual Back-to-School Fair provides less fortunate children with bags full of school supplies to help get their school year off on the right foot.
This year’s fair will take place in the cafeteria and gym of Mineral Wells Junior High on Aug. 10 from 8 a.m. to noon.
Chairman Liz O’Quin said the fair – which was started by First Baptist Church of Mineral Wells – has evolved into a truly community event.
“Most of our sponsors and donations come from different businesses, organizations and individuals from within the community,” she explained.
“We’ve actually expanded the last several years to include a vendor fair where community organizations can come out and reach these families and help provide them with different resources that will help them throughout the year as well. Different groups [come out] to help reach these families and say, ‘We’re here to help you. Let us help you if you need it.’”
O’Quin said this year the fair expects to give supplies to about 1,000 kids in need, making it the largest one in its 16-year history. The fair is still accepting donations and anyone who donates $100 or more will be recognized on a sponsor banner that will be prominently displayed at the event.
Although the fair caters specifically to families in need, O’Quin said there will be lots of activities that appeal to everyone and the entire public is invited.
Some of the attractions at this year’s fair include bounce houses, snow cones provided by Texas Baptist Men, blood donations with Carter BloodCare and sports physicals from local nurse practitioner Carla Hay.
O’Quin – who is in her third year of helping with the fair – said she was approached by fellow members of the congregation at First Baptist about being this year’s chairman after the previous chairman decided she could not do it anymore. She gladly accepted the opportunity.
“I just had a really great team this year,” she said. “Michelle Garcia and Stephanie White have kind of co-chaired this with me this year and they’ve really been great. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
A Plano native originally, O’Quin said the Mineral Wells community holds a special place in her heart.
“I enjoy helping the community,” she said. “My husband and his family have grown up in this community, so it’s just really special to us.”
Anyone interested in donating to the fair can either take their contributions to the office at First Baptist Church or call 940-654-0127 for pick up.
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