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Kira Barb hands out hot dogs to students at the 2019 extravaganza. The hot dog booth, where over 600 hot dogs were served, was a collaboration between the Polk County Cattlemen and Bolivar Open Hearts United Methodist Church.

With local school officials still unsure how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the fall semester, the seventh annual Back to School Extravaganza, a charitable event that provides Polk County K-12 students with school supplies and other needed products, is slated for Saturday, Aug. 1. 

According to a news release, organizers say the event will look different this year but still encourage everyone to help with donations of items or money. 

Spearheaded by Bolivar’s Open Hearts United Methodist Church, the extravaganza unites churches, businesses, organizations and individuals to provide backpacks, school supplies, hygiene products, socks, undergarments, haircuts and more to Polk County K-12 students free of charge, the release stated. 

Last year’s extravaganza gave students backpacks full of school supplies and hygienic commodities, along with providing 79 haircuts from volunteer hair stylists, serving 600 hot dogs and over 200 snow cones.

This year’s event is set for 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on the Bolivar High School campus. 

“It’s amazing how so many people from our county work together to help our students get a positive start back to school,” extravaganza chairman Kathy Drake said in the release. “We want our kids excited about going to school. It’s a huge effort, and it takes lots of volunteers, lots of money and lots of supplies to make it happen. But it’s so worth it to support our kids, families and schools.”

This year’s event is crucial to districtwide student preparedness, Drake said in the release. 

“It might look a little different this year, but many families will still rely on the extravaganza to stock up on school supplies,” she said in the release. “All help and all donations are appreciated by the students and their families.”

In addition to school supply donations, monetary donations go far in making this event happen, Drake added. 

“Thankfully, we can pool our purchasing power and get more for our dollars when it comes to certain supplies, especially hygiene products,” Drake said in the release. “If anyone is not sure what to purchase, or doesn’t have the time to shop, their monetary donations will be used wisely.”

Those donations will be “very much appreciated,” she added.

To make donations, to volunteer or for more information, contact the church at 326-4885.

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