MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Pantry Plus More initially had to postpone its annual Back to School Bash from Aug. 8 to Aug. 22 because of the pandemic, but the nonprofit says their mission has not changed.
The goal of the event is to give students a backpack with school supplies and a bag of hygiene products and this year they will be giving out 1,800 of each. This is according to Amanda Bolyard, a co-chair of the Back to School Bash, who said each child, K-12, will receive one of each bag. The kinds of school materials and hygiene products students receive will be broken down into groups of K-5 and 6-12 and the process of receiving bags will be different this year.
“Unfortunately, something that we really love about the back to school bash is that children have the ability to have a choice in what they pack and we can’t obviously have large group gatherings,” Bolyard said. “We will be pre-packing our backpacks and pre-packing our hygiene bags.”
Right now, a Pantry Plus More volunteers are diligently working to prepare supplies they will hand out on the day of the event. Bolyard said the event will be at the Mountaineer Mall and the whole process will be a drive-thru with no contact. On Aug. 22, she said, families with last names starting with A-M will be able to stop by from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and families with last names N-Z will be able to stop by from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Back to School Bash is important for many families and Bolyard said there was no way that Pantry Plus More was going to allow COVID-19 to stand in the way of providing a much-needed service. This service, she said would not be possible without the community and partners.
“There are several businesses in the area and so many people that have reached out to help us,” Bolyard said. “Mon Health is coming to pack the elementary hygiene bags, they are bringing 775 cinch bags. Office Depot helped us get a large order of school supplies, businesses like Longview Power have been doing donation drives for us. We are very grateful for the support in this community, we put out a lot of things on our Facebook page that we need and people are so just so willing to help us in this time of need when a lot more people are having to ask for help that normally didn’t because of loss of income due to COVID.”
Bolyard said Pantry Plus More is always accepting donations of back to school supplies and hygiene products throughout the year, so if anyone wants to donate they should definitely do so. She said donors can get in touch with the organization by sending a direct message through their Facebook page or find out more through their website.
Donations can be dropped off at Pantry Plus More located at 9 Rousch Dr. in Morgantown. If the office is closed, Bolyard said there is a blue bin outside where supplies can also be dropped off. The nonprofit will even arrange to pick up items from a donor’s home if necessary, Bolyard said.
“We will keep resupplying our inventory and keep having things available in case people reach out to us, if they weren’t able to attend on Saturday the 22nd, or if they have some other type of need,” Bolyard said. “They can still reach out to us and we can still help them.”