Backpack giveaway for local students set for Thursday

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BENNINGTON — With the start of the school year almost here, it's time to stock up on supplies.

Children will have access to free backpacks filled with school supplies at a backpack giveaway this Thursday from 3-6 p.m. at the Bennington Auto Mall at 24 Performance Drive.

The event is sponsored by the Bennington Banner, the Manchester Journal and the Bennington Auto Mall.

The 250 available backpacks will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis. Registration is not required. It's encouraged that children be physically present to receive a backpack. The backpacks will include water bottles, crayons, safe scissors, rulers, notebooks, pencils, pencil sharpeners, glue sticks and tissues.

In addition to the giveaway, there will be free haircuts and food grilled by volunteers from Hannaford Supermarket. There will also be activities for children.

At last year's backpack giveaway, high demand resulted in a 100-backpack deficit,

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"We had to buy like an extra hundred," said Justin Minarcik, general manager at the Auto Mall. He estimates they gave away about 275 backpacks before running out.

The Auto Mall did a "raincheck" system, giving away enough backpacks to make up the deficit over the course of about a week.

"We didn't want any kids to go without," Minarcik said. He said he had not been a part of conversations about what to do if that happened again, but "depending on the demand this year, if we have to do the same thing for our raincheck system, we'll just have to go back to that."

This is the second year that the Bennington Auto Mall has been a sponsor of the event.

"It was awesome to see, and give back, and how excited the kids were," Minarcik said. "It was just an awesome event."

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at pleboeuf@benningtonbanner.com, at @BAN_pleboeuf on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 118.


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