OACAC prepares for annual fair

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Barry County OACAC Neighborhood Center is currently preparing for its 2011 School Readiness Fair, which will be held at the Crowder College Cassville Campus Community Center on Thursday, Aug. 4.

Families can register for this year's fair at the Neighborhood Center, which is located on Highway 248 in Cassville. Registrations will be accepted through Friday, June 24.

Families must provide Social Security cards for each member of the household to register for the fair.

"We are starting to take donations," said Gail Reed, Barry County OACAC director. "Donation request letters will be going out soon."

Supplies and cash donations can be dropped off at the Neighborhood Center. Any amount of supplies can be donated. Cash donations will be used to purchase school supplies. Some of this year's most needed items include paper, pencils, pens and multi-colored folders.

"Last year, we needed somewhere around 3,200 folders," said Reed. "We are also always in need of backpacks so that we can give a backpack to each child who attends the fair."

After not selecting a theme for the event during the last few years, the Neighborhood Center staff decided to bring back the tradition. The theme for this year's fair will be "Around the World in 2011."

"We will have some decorations, and we are thinking about giving each child a 'passport' for the event," said Reed. "Our idea is to encourage the children to collect stamps at each of the booths. We might even award a special prize to the students who collect all of the stamps."

The School Readiness Fair traditionally offers a large assortment of information and services. In the past, the fair has offered free dental services, haircuts and vision screenings.

Many local businesses, organizations and agencies participate in the annual fair by providing free gift items and information on education, health, physical fitness and community resources.

"We can always use volunteers," said Reed. "Volunteer opportunities include sorting and packing supplies before the event, helping set up in the days prior to the event and assisting with booths on the day of the fair."

Children attending the fair receive a backpack and the majority of the school supplies required by the grade level teachers in their district.

For more information or to volunteer or donate items for the Neighborhood Center's School Readiness Fair, call 847-2140.

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