NTMC, church team up for Back to School event

Aug. 6—Local organizations gathered at Gainesville High School last week to help kids get ready to go back to school.

"There was a huge line of people here 30 minutes before we even opened the doors," said Darin Allred, the director of marketing at North Texas Medical Center (NTMC). "It's a great thing for Real Life Church and for the hospital and all our other sponsors to be able to help these families out, especially when the economy is the way it is right now. People need all the help they can get, and the school supplies and everything else that they're getting here tonight, even the information they're getting, will help them get their children ready to go back to school healthy and happy."

The event, held at the Gainesville ISD Multipurpose Facility, offered free school supplies, haircuts and information for families who need assistance. In addition, the Lions Club provided free vision screenings.

"We provided 500 backpacks this year filled with lots of school supplies," said Nicki Pickett, the director of Angel Academy, a preschool program ministry of Real Life Church (RLC). "Haircuts, as well, is something that a lot of times kids need before school, but a lot of times it can get quite costly, so this is a great opportunity. We're blessed with people that have come in and volunteered their time for these kids."

Starting in 2014, NTMC has sponsored this free back to school event, teaming up with others. One of the main supporters has been RLC and Angel Academy. This year, additional sponsors included the Kiwanis Club of Gainesville and PPG.

"There were several organizations that wanted to do something to provide school supplies for the students that maybe couldn't afford them or didn't have the opportunity to get to them," said Kristi Rigsby, NTMC Vice-President of Clinic Operations. "So we wanted to get a group together and provide school supplies and get the kids ready to go back to school."

Back to school

Most Cooke County school districts are returning to class on Wednesday, Aug. 17.

One exception being Lindsay ISD, which will return to class on Wednesday, Aug. 10.

This weekend is tax-free weekend, meaning most clothes and school supplies will not be taxed when purchased this weekend. This includes locally owned businesses, and people are encouraged to shop this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the Sidewalk Stroll.