Elizabethton City Schools gives out 1,000 free backpacks at Back-2-School Bash


The 4th annual Back-2-School Bash by Elizabethton City Schools was a chance for families to receive a free backpack stuffed with school supplies.

Markers, folders, hand sanitizer, glue – everything came included for students. Hundreds of families lined up at Citizens Bank Stadium today to pick out a backpack for their elementary, middle, or high schooler. 

“Students need to come to school on a level playing field,” said Dr. Corey Gardenhour, director of Elizabethton City Schools. “And we try to make sure students start, have their materials, have everything that they need to be able to start school the first day and feel great about themselves.”

ECS has partnered with East River Park Christian Church in Elizabethton for the past three years to organize the backpack project. Community donors and sponsoring businesses collectively contributed around $40,000 to purchase supplies.

“It’s really just a way for everyone in the community to come together and love and serve the people here in Elizabethton,” said Jason Payne, senior pastor at East River Park Christian Church.

Gardenhour said the event was meant to help families across Carter County and beyond. 

“We’re hoping that it has a large impact,” he said. “We’ve even had people say they’ve come from North Carolina to be able to come and get free school supplies for their kids.”

Aside from giving out backpacks, 25 different agencies had stands set up at the event to help parents ensure their children have services like healthcare, dental, and clothing items for the new school year. 

“It’s a boost for a lot of families. We live in an economically depressed area, and what we’re trying to do is build that up,” Gardenhour said.

If they missed the event, students can still receive a free backpack with supplies once school starts. Gardenhour also said school supplies will be provided throughout the year to any child who needs them.

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