Groups giving out school supplies

George Browning

Pekin 4th of July Queen, Katie Rankin organized a backpack/school supply drive. She handed out 30 backpacks Sunday night and the rest will be given to East Washington Elementary School to be given to students in need. 

If there was a student in need of help with school supplies in Washington County who didn’t get help, it wasn’t because of lack of opportunity.

In addition to the Jump Start programs at both West Washington and Salem, a number of groups, individuals and churches got together and held school supply and backpack drives and gave them out this weekend.

At Salem Speedway Saturday there were 155 backpacks filled with school supplies passed out.

Pekin UMC also got in on the action, passing out backpacks filled with supplies to the first 100 kids in their backpack to school carnival.

Free Gospel Assembly Church on Water Street in Pekin also gave out backpacks and school supplies over the weekend and even went one step further. They also offered free hair cuts and vision screenings.

Sunday at Pekin Park, 2021 4th of July Queen, Katie Rankin, passed out 30 of the more than 80 backpacks that she collected.

She said the ones that weren’t handed out would go to the elementary school and be given to students as needed.

“I think the backpack drive went amazing,” Rankin said.

The three groups in Pekin who collected and handed our school supplies are a blessing according to East Washington Elementary School Principal Stacy Richardson.

“Our community continues to amaze me more and more each day with their generosity and kind hearts,” she said. “I have been touched by the outpouring of help and support for our families from churches, businesses, and individuals.  We are so appreciative for the continued support for our students and our school!”

The backpack/school supply drive was one of Rankin’s first endeavors as queen and she was blown away by all the help she received.

“The whole community made this happen,” Rankin said. “I am  so glad I live in a community like pekin. “Another big thank you to my mom’s work, GKN, and the employees. She put a box there and each day there was more and more supplies.”

Rankin said her aunt made an Amazon wish list, which was a huge help, as well.

“Jeff Miller from the Pierce-Polk Volunteer Fire Department donated 24 backpacks,” Rankin said. “The Pekin Community Betterment Organizations  donated the crayons.

“It means a lot that so many people and groups helped! I’m so excited to start on another big event to help the community


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