More than a backpack: Back to school assistance for RISD students

by Josie Fox

The Tree of Promise is once again partnering with local businesses and Rusk ISD to present the ‘More than a Backpack’ giveaway. The goal is to supply 500 Rusk ISD students, grades PreK through eighth grade, with a brand new backpack and the supplies needed to start the school year. This year’s event will take place on Monday, Aug. 12 from 4-7 p.m. at the Rusk Civic Center, 555 Euclid Street, Rusk.

“This is an event that shows our school children, and their parents, just how much our community cares about them and their education,” said Kim Beathard with the Tree of Promise.

According to the Tree of Promise website, “The response from businesses has been overwhelming! We live in a community that wants to see kids succeed.”

There are several ways to help with the backpack drive, from making donations to helping pass out supplies to spreading the word about the event. Backpacks can be purchased at Brookshire Bros. in Rusk and placed in a donation bin to be filled at the event. Monetary donations can be made through the Tree of Promise Facebook page, PayPal, or cash or check to Pat Hardy or Leslie Carvell.

The Tree of Promise gets the school supplies locally, working hard to ensure it is a community event. Along with donations from businesses and community members, a fundraising car wash was held on Aug. 3 in the Church of Christ parking lot. Anyone who had purchased two backpacks, and had kept their receipt, qualified for a free car wash that day. Cash donations were also accepted to go towards the purchase of additional supplies.

The backpacks will be given away on a first come, first serve basis and proof of residence within the RISD area will be required. The student(s) receiving the backpack need to accompany their parent/guardian that is retrieving the supplies.

This year’s sponsors included Affiliated Surveyors, All Star Collision, Allen’s Tires, Austin Bank, Berry & Clay, Cherokee Animal Clinic, Cherokee County Co-op, Cherokee County Federal Credit Union, Cherokee County Teachers Credit Union, Citizen’s 1st Bank, Eastside Baptist Church, Etech, First Baptist Church, J&P Kwikstop, Jery Ocker DDS, River of Life Church and Stacy Black DDS.