Wanted: school supplies

Attendees of Dallas Family Night Out may enjoy a free meal while picking up backpacks for school, getting a hair cut, immunizations or health checks — and playing games.

DALLAS — Dallas Family Night Out, the community’s back-to-school resource event in August, is expanding in its fifth year.

What: Donations for Dallas Family Night Out.

When: Collection started this month and runs through the end of July.

Where: Participating businesses, churches and organizations. Donation barrels are located around Dallas at:

• Citizens Bank, 583 SE Jefferson St.; Oregon State Credit Union, 210 Orchard Drive; Polk Resource Center, 182 SW Academy St., suite 220; Polk County Courthouse, 850 Main St.; Dallas City Hall, 187 SE Court St.; Wells Fargo, 636 Main St.; Dallas Church, 450 SE Washington St.; First Presbyterian Church, 879 SW Levens St.; El Pique, 289 E. Ellendale Ave.; Salem Health West Valley, 525 SE Washington St.; and Les Schwab, 121 Main St.

Of note: Financial assistance and volunteers for the event are needed. Contact Sheri Beehner at 503-623-8387, ext. 322, or sbeehner@wvpha.org to help.

This year, the event established a partnership with Salvation Army’s Tools for Schools program to distribute backpacks with school supplies, and took over coordination of the Apple Tree School Drive to collect donations.

Event coordinator Sheri Beehner said the hope is putting the three programs under one umbrella will help more Dallas-area families prepare for the upcoming school year.

Dallas Family Night Out is scheduled for Aug. 17 at Dallas United Methodist Church.

Launched in 2012, it’s grown to offer school supplies, haircuts, immunizations, health checkups for children, a clothing giveaway, a free dinner, and games and entertainment.

Beehner and the coordinating committee have already started preparing for the 2016 giveaway.

“Dallas Family Night Out is doing the fundraising for the event, and we have placed donation barrels around town and have sent letters to all the local businesses, trying to raise $7,000 for this community event,” Beehner said.

A number of local businesses and organizations have already stepped up to assist the event, but more is needed, especially with school supplies collection.

Volunteers and financial donations also are needed, Beehner said.

In 2015, nearly 1,000 people attended the event and 473 backpacks were given away.

Beehner said with the help of the community, that number could grow.

“We serve a lot of families and give out a lot of supplies,” Beehner said.

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