Project Fresh Start Kicks off Today

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Get your book bags ready kids, because back to school season has arrived! Saturday, the United Way of Portage County sent home thousands of children with supplies they'll need for their first day, all thanks to their annual Fresh Start Program.

It was Amber Lovett's second year using the Fresh Start Program, and she said it helps tremendously. "Well school supplies have gotten so expensive over the years," said Lovett, "I mean it's hard for people that have lower income, or not enough money to supply their kids with all of the correct and appropriate school supplies. So this kind of place here really helps me."

Lovett said she's never has a problem finding exactly what she needs for her 6-year-old son. "The ladies and gentlemen in there were supper friendly, they helped me find everything I needed to find. They showed me where everything was if I couldn't find it. They were great," said Lovett.

The entire process is pretty simple. Families first start off in the gymnasium, where they can choose nine different items. This includes six shirts, two pairs of pants and an accessory. Accessories include anything from shoes, a hat, and of course a winter coat. Then they're led to the cafeteria, where they can choose from prepackaged bags labeled by grade number. And finally families are led to the end of the line, where their child can choose any backpack their heart desires.

Organizers collected supplies from more than 70 partners over the past two months. And Lovett said as long as they continue to offer the program, she'll keep coming back.

"It's really great. I mean they just help everybody. It doesn't really matter who you are, where you come from. They help you," said Lovett.

If you're interested in registering your child for next year's Fresh Start Program, you can register online at www.volunteersrock.org. Registration starts again in May 2015.


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