Photo courtesy of Amber Hoffman
Students at Dallas Family Night Out pick up their backpacks filled with school supplies at Dallas United Methodist Church on Aug. 22
As of Tuesday, August 28, 2018
DALLAS — The annual back-to-school event Dallas Family Night Out provided 565 backpacks filled with school supplies and 13 IOUs on Aug. 22.
The event, organized by Polk County Family & Community Outreach, served students from Dallas, Central, Salem-Keizer, and Perrydale school districts, along with home-schooled and Luckiamute Valley Charter School students.
Dallas Family Night Out
Attendance: 888 people.
Backpacks given out: 565 plus 13 IOUs. (Pre-k and kindergarten: 102; grade schoolers: 242; middle schoolers: 137; and High schoolers: 84).
Pizzas served: 400.
Cookies served: 1,000.
“We served a few more families this year than last year. Last year we counted around 850 individuals that came to the event, this year we were right around 900. We gave away significantly more backpacks this year, though,” said Amber Hoffman, the family resource navigator for Family & Community Outreach. “We really made it a point this year to not turn anyone away who came looking for a backpack and school supplies.”
Hoffman said the planning committee decided that receiving a backpack would no longer require identification.
“It’s so rewarding to see the look on a child’s face when they get to pick out their backpack,” Hoffman said.
Domino’s, Roth’s, North Dallas and the Salvation Army provided food for the event. New this year were dental screenings and a requirement that each resource provider that set up a booth host a family-friendly activity to encourage higher participation.
“Next year our plan is to make a big focus on expanding kid friendly activities and to add additional screenings, such as vision and hearing,” Hoffman said.
Fifty organizations participated in the event, she said.
“Probably the most incredible thing, though, is to see our community pull together to make this event happen,” Hoffman said. “It’s remarkable to see so many people from different agencies, faith organizations, and local businesses come together and contribute what they can so that families of Dallas (and Polk County) can come and enjoy a fantastic night out.”