Back to School Bash planned Aug. 8

Mission Carthage is doing its 16th school supply giveaway a little differently this year because of COVID-19, becoming a drive-thru event.

The annual Back to School Bash will take place Saturday, Aug. 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Carthage High School at the main entrance. It’s open to any Panola County student entering kindergarten through 12th grade, including those selecting home school this year. Gates open at 5 p.m. at the guard shack. Those participating are asked not to line up early, and they are asked to stay in their cars.

“If the kids can ride in the car with them to come get it, that would be wonderful,” said Jennifer Randall, executive director of Mission Carthage. “If they can’t we understand, but we would like to see their little faces.”

Mission Carthage is prepared for 400 kids and will be giving each child a drawstring bag with the supplies in them.

“We do it to help the families and the students in Panola County with school supplies so that when they go to school they have everything that they need for school, at least to get them started,” Randall said. “We aren’t always able to get everything that’s on their school supply list, but we want them to go in and have pencils, pens, notebooks, spirals and the things that they need to get going, especially so they can find out from their teacher what they still need.”

The bash currently has 27 sponsors. Making the decision to do it differently this year was easy. Randall said they usually have about 500 or 600 people gathering for it in the Carthage Civic Center, and nobody felt comfortable having that many people in one sport.

“We just thought about it, thought how on earth is that ever going to work, so we thought about the way we have been doing our produce drop with the drive-thru,” she said. “I talked to Carolyn Wink, and she said ‘Let’s pull together and see if we can’t get this done.’ We still have almost as many sponsors as I had at the building when we do it at the Civic Center, so we’re excited that still we have a lot of people coming to help and giving school supplies or giving money so we can buy them in bulk.”