WADSWORTH – School is almost ready to begin, but more than 100 families had an opportunity for at least one more evening of summer fun while attending the Salvation Army’s Back to School Bash.
So far this year, the Salvation Army women’s auxiliary put together backpacks for children in 104 families so they will have everything they need to start the school year. When families stopped by the Salvation Army office on College Street Aug. 14, they were greeted with food, games, face painting, a bouncy house and a number of nonprofit organizations that provided them with helpful information.
“A lot of Salvation Army groups do back to school programs, but they don’t have the whole rally part of it,” said Envoy Julia Gulley, who has been leading the Wadsworth Salvation Army since July. “It amazes me. I’ve been with the Salvation Army my entire life and I’ve never seen before what these ladies do.”
Gulley said she worked with Majors Tom and Debbie Grace – who worked with the Wadsworth Salvation Army for 14 years – while she was in Canton.
“That is such a larger community and everyone is more spread out,” she said. “What happens there is more staff-driven, whereas here we have this large group of wonderful volunteers.”
Capt. Tara Harrison, of the Salvation Army, explained that every child who registered for back to school assistance received all of the supplies needed for his or her specific classroom.
“We have had churches and businesses that have done school supply trees for us,” she said. “We have had women here in this building counting, packing bags and organizing for two weeks.”
Lindsey Kercher added that the Salvation Army relies on donations to make this program work.
“Cash is always a good way to donate because the list of what we need can change from year to year,” she said. “In the past, we needed a lot of flash drives and we received a lot of them, but now we don’t need them since the schools are using Google Drive. But basic supplies like pens, pencils, notebooks, markers and loose leaf paper are also needed.”