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Students stock up on school supplies at Magics Ready to Learn event

PHOTOS BY HEATHER IMMLER | BGNN

PHOTO BY BOB MOREHEAD | BGNN

Families collecting free school supplies meet the owners of the Magic City’s new hometown newspaper.

By BOB MOREHEAD

Gazette Staff Writer

Word got out, people believed, and the Aug. 5 school supply giveaway at Barberton High School had a steady flow of families its entire three hours.

This was the second year for the Magics Ready to Learn supply spree, handing out everything on every teacher’s student self-supply list in Barberton’s grades K-5. Organizer Paula Kallio said the event seemed bigger than last year.

“I think they didn’t really believe there was no income requirement,” Kallio said.

She said many, despite the announcements ahead of the giveaway, still believed it was only for families qualifying for free and reduced lunch or some other program.

“And some told me it didn’t feel right because they could afford to buy it themselves,” Kallio said. “Fine. Come and get your kids’ supplies anyway and if you feel guilty, donate to our fund
at the Barberton Community Foundation.”

A squad of about 40 volunteers, including students from the high school, gathered Aug. 3 to receive pallets full of pencils, pens, crayons, notebooks and the like, all supplied at cost by Marc’s, and arranged them on rows of tables buffet style. Parents could bring their kids by between 9 a.m. and noon to collect the loot into donated Marc’s totes.

Interspersed between the supply table were businesses and community groups, including The Gazette, rival sweet shops Durbin’s and Skoops, the library, the Esther Ryan Shoe Fund
and others.

Kallio formed a committee last year that’s held together, teaming up with likeminded folks Kathy Maybin, Kathy Harnden and Kim Liddle, along with school district administrative assistant Mary Lou Woodford and Summit County Councilwoman Bethany McKenney. There are now nine on that committee and they work on organizing and fundraising through the year.

Any extra money bought extra supplies. Some are going to the preschool. The rest will be at the primary and intermediate schools for late transfers and to supplement lost, damaged or
exhausted supplies through the year.

“I am so grateful for the generosity of this community,” school board President Tom Harnden said. “So many in the community contributed.”

(This has been edited from its original posted version to correct an error.)

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