HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Free backpacks are available to students in need of supplies during the annual back-to-school event at McNally Field in Holyoke.

The first 2,500 students at the 12th annual event scheduled for Saturday, August 19th will receive a backpack filled with school supplies. Activities include a rock climbing wall, waterslides, face painting, and more.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., visit McNally Field which is located behind Kelly School on 45 Winter Street in Holyoke. There will be food, refreshments, and haircuts available.

“As we continue to focus on community engagement and double down on prevention before incarceration, the safe neighborhood initiative is another way we are helping to prevent kids from going down the wrong path and encouraging them to do the right thing,” Sheriff Cocchi said. “And school supplies are expensive so this effort helps ensure the young people have what they need to be successful in school.”

“The goal of the program is really to engage the community, to develop a relationship with both the youth and families,” said Edward Caisse III, Unit Director at the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office who leads HSNI. “What we’re trying to do is give kids a shot at success and connect them with positive, caring adults in the community. The more we engage, the higher the graduation rates will climb here in Holyoke.”

Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative and the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office collaborated with numerous sponsors and partners to organize the event which includes the following:

  • Bethany Assembly of God
  • Cataldo
  • Center for Human Development
  • Cradle to Crayons
  • Enlace de Familias
  • Holyoke Board of Health
  • Holyoke Fire Department
  • Holyoke Police Department
  • Holyoke Public Schools
  • HP Hood
  • Holyoke Mayor Joshua A. Garcia
  • Ocean State Job Lot
  • Pedal Thru Youth
  • Peoples Bank
  • Saints Bouncehouse
  • Springfield Youth Mental Health Coalition
  • Sodexo
  • Springfield Pharmacy
  • The Gideons
  • Way Finders
  • Westfield Bank

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