July 29, 2014

BackPACK to School event provides supplies for needy students

More than 1,000 backpacks are expected to be given out during a BackPACK to School Day event from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Belleville West High School.

The yearly event is hosted by the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce's Education Committee.

To participate in the event, students will need to be registered at one of the participating schools for the upcoming school year. Families will be required to check in with their school and visit participating vendors before receiving a free backpack filled with supplies. Physicals and dental exams will also be available for students.

Belleville School District 118 Superintendent Matt Klosterman said the physicals and dental exams will be provided free of charge on a first come, first serve basis.

The following schools are participating in this year's event: Abraham Lincoln Elementary, Belle Valley Elementary-North, Belle Valley Middle-South, Central Junior High, Douglas Elementary, Ellis Elementary, Emge Junior High, Franklin Elementary, Henry Raab Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary, Signal Hill School, Union Elementary, Washington Elementary, West Junior High, Westhaven Elementary, Whiteside Elementary, Whiteside Middle, Blessed Sacrament Catholic Grade School, Cathedral Catholic Grade School, Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Grade School, St. Mary-St. Augustine Catholic Grade School, St. Teresa Catholic Grade School and Zion Lutheran Grade School.

The backpacks are filled with school supplies including pencils, water bottles, notebooks, erasers, colored pencils, paper, folders and rulers. The event will also feature free food, a rock-climbing wall, a bounce house and face painting.

For more information, contact the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce at 618-233-2015.


Approximately 400 families at Scott Air Force Base are expected to receive free school supply kits Saturday. The Illinois Currency Exchange Charitable Foundation is partnering with Operation Homefront to provide school supplies to the children of active and reserve members of all branches of the U.S. armed forces that are of limited financial resources.

The school supply kits will be handed out from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday right outside Scott Air Force Base at 1516 Old Route 158. School supplies will be provided to families at six other military bases across Illinois. Four different kits -- each with a value of $35 -- are designed to meet the needs of the following age groups: head start, primary, elementary and junior/senior high.

"Our community partnership with Operation Homefront allows us to not only help military families but to expand the reach of our program to communities all over the state," said Matthew Kurtzman, executive director of the Illinois Currency Exchange Charitable Foundation.

In 2014, Kurtzman estimates the foundation in cooperation with Operation Homefront will provide more than 28,000 underprivileged students with 850,000 free school supplies.

For more information, visit


Touchette Regional Hospital and Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation is hosting its third annual back-to-school community event on Saturday. The event features free health education, screenings, games and activities.

The family friendly fair runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Walgreens parking lot, 2510 State St. in East St. Louis. Touchette and SIHF will share health information from a variety of their programs and offer blood pressure, diabetes/blood sugar and HIV screenings.

In addition, community partners, such as the East St. Louis School District 189, Lessie Bates Davies Neighborhood House, Midwest Career Source and Familiar Dental Care, will host informational booths.

The event will include a childrens' play area, visits from the East St. Louis police and fire departments and free food. All children who are accompanied by their parents will receive free school supplies while they last.


East St. Louis Sr. High School faculty will host Jumpstart to Success from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the Ninth Grade Center, 3939 Caseyville Ave. Students will be provided breakfast and lunch, as well as transportation to and from the program.


Emge Junior High School in Belleville is hosting its registration from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday for new students to Harmony-Emge School District 175, and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday for returning students. For more information, visit


Bluffview Elementary School in Dupo will register all students from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. New students or any student who has moved within the past year must prove residency. Students will not be assigned to a classroom until registration is complete. Class lists will be available at a meet-the-teacher evening on Aug. 13. Dupo Junior/Senior High School registration will be held from noon to 8 p.m. Aug. 5 and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 6 and 7. All students must be registered by a parent or guardian.


The Center for Racial Harmony will present a public forum on "Schools: The Involvement Imperative/Protecting Our Future" at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 4 at Lindenwood University's main auditorium. The forum will focus on "The Positive Collaboration of Schools, Students, and Law Enforcement." The panelists will include U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois Stephen R. Wigginton, Belleville District 201 Superintendent Jeff Dosier, St. Clair County Judge Hon. Heinz Rudolf and St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson. The facilitator will be Attorney Robert E. Wells, Jr.

Do you have an item for Education Matters or an education-related story tip? We want to know about it. Send your ideas to Jamie Forsythe at or call 618-239-2562. Follow her on Twitter at @BND_JForsythe.

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