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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Event helps children, parents start the school year off right

  • Despite a wall-to-wall crowd and slow moving lines, students gearing up for the 2014-15 school year were all smiles as they navigated Mercy Clinic's annual Back to School Fair Wednesday at the Rolla Lions Club Den located at Lions Club Park.
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  • Despite a wall-to-wall crowd and slow moving lines, students gearing up for the 2014-15 school year were all smiles as they navigated Mercy Clinic's annual Back to School Fair Wednesday at the Rolla Lions Club Den located at Lions Club Park.
    From backpacks full of school supplies to vision screenings to dozens of freebies from over 30 vendors, the afternoon program saw close to 700 people pass through its doors.
    "It's saving us lots of money," said Ray Sudheimer, whose daughter, Brittney, sat patiently in the salon chair getting her hair cut. This was the second time that he and his children attended.
    Gina Maben and Kristina Lewis both from Rolla's Mercy Clinic have been the organizers of this program geared toward low-income or at-risk families. Her hope is that those students at risk will enter the school year having all the necessary supplies.
    "This is so rewarding to see the happy faces on these kids." Maben shared. "The parents are in tears some times by the time they arrive at the end of the lines. They tell us that they count on this event each year to get what they need."
    Joyce Winfield of the Salvation Army has been a part of this event for over 15 years. She and her assistant, Bree Briann, were busy handing out backpacks as the students entered the front door.
    "The best part of this each year is the pure joy of helping these kids," Winfield said.
    Rolla Public Schools start classes Wednesday, Aug. 13.

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