Packed and ready for school to start

Families came out for fun activities at the annual Back to School Bash hosted by Upper Des Moines Opportunity on Thursday afternoon.

The event, held in Moun Hall at the All Cultures Equal building, invited families to enjoy pizza, learn more about local service providers and pick up backpacks full of school supplies. Mary Ohrtman, UMDO Hamilton County outreach director, said families registered to receive a backpack before the event. After they arrive, families are required to visit each booth before receiving their backpack. Ohrtman said each table has things for visiting children to do.

“We want it to be a party,” Ohrtman said. “This is a family fun event, a time for parents and their children to have fun.”

This year, UDMO provided over 180 backpacks and sets of school supplies to local children. Ohrtman said the backpacks are provided through UDMO funding and local donations. Those families who didn’t register can still get backpacks. Ohrtman said they will be available through the start of school, but they cannot guarantee that they will be able to provide school supplies with the backpack.

As the school season nears, UDMO is asking for continued donations of school supplies. Ohrtman said those looking to donate can take advantage of upcoming clearance sales to help out low-income families in Hamilton County.

“Please bring those in because we need a stock so that we can start planning for next year,” Ohrtman said.

UDMO is also planning for winter. Registration for their Coats for Kids program begins Aug. 18 and goes through Sept. 19. The program encourages community members to help low-income children by donating coats for those who register. For more information, contact UDMO at (515) 832-6451.