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Backpacks & Breakfast is Back with Free School Supplies

More than 900 backpacks filled with school supplies will be given away to school children from low-income families on Saturday, Aug. 10 at the 19th annual Backpacks and Breakfast, the largest school readiness event in Northern Kentucky.

The event, put on by Northern Kentucky Harvest, begins at 9 a.m. and continues until 11 a.m. in Goebel Park at Fifth and Philadelphia streets in Covington’s MainStrasse. Participants typically start lining up for backpacks as early as 6:30 a.m.

Frisch's, which was Northern Kentucky Harvest’s original partner in the project, will once again serve a free breakfast to all who attend.

Backpacks and Breakfast is open to qualified families in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties with children in kindergarten through 12th grade. The backpacks filled with new grade-specific school supplies will be given away on a first-come, first served basis to low-income families. Parents should bring a photo I.D. for themselves, Social Security or medical cards for their children and a recent (within 30 days) piece of mail with their name and address on it for proof of residence.

Northern Kentucky Harvest is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that collects food, clothing and other supplies for food banks and other organizations that serve low-income families in Northern Kentucky.

Backpacks and Breakfast, Northern Kentucky Harvest’s signature event, started in 2001, when 150 backpacks were distributed.

“We recognized that back-to-school expenses posed a real hardship for low-income families already struggling to pay for food, housing, utilities, transportation, and health care,” said Paul Gottbrath, board president of Northern Kentucky Harvest.

Over the years, the event has steadily grown with a total of nearly 11,000 backpacks given away through 2018.

“Backpacks could never have persisted so long or grown to the size it is today without the support of the community,” Gottbrath said. “We are so grateful to our sponsors, our in-kind supporters and our volunteers for making this happen every year.”

-Staff report