Fort Macleod is gearing up for a community party that will get children ready for the new school term.
Back to School Connect is a chance for families to get free clothes and school supplies and tap into professional services at no cost.
There will also be free hot dogs, fruit and refreshments, and children will get to take part in games at the community resource fair.
“It’s really a big party,” said Susan Simpson, director of co-host Fort Macleod Kids First Family Center. “Come on down. We’re happy to have you.”
Back to School Connect is from 2-8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28 at the Fort Macleod and District Community Hall.
The invitation is extended to everyone in the community but since it’s a first time effort organizers have no idea what kind of crowd to anticipate.
“We have prepared for 500 people,” Simpson said. “That is very optimistic, and we understand that.”
Parents can learn about the many services that are available to families in Fort Macleod.
Organizers have arranged for a wide variety of professionals to attend Back to School Connect.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” Simpson enthused of the response from people asked to participate. “It’s going to be packed.”
Angie O’Connor, director of co-host Fort Macleod Family and Community Support Services, agreed.
“People in this community are generally very giving,” O’Connor said.
Dentists and optometrists will be on hand to do examinations and hairdressers will provide “back to school” trims.
A dietitian will be present and Alberta Health Services staff will attend to discuss topics such as immunization, addictions services, mental health and home visitation.
Fort Macleod Affordable Housing Coalition’s housing support worker will be present, as will a representative from the FASD Lifespan Project.
Parents As Teachers, Global Training, Kidsport, Sunshine Kids Day Homes, Hand In Hand Out of School Care, Triple P Parenting, Fort Macleod Preschool, project Read and the Office of Traffic Safety will be represented.
Fort Macleod Early Childhood Mapping Coalition co-ordinator Kathy Karchuk will also attend.
A clothing drive has been under way for several months in Fort Macleod to gather items for the clothing exchange at Back to School Connect.
“I think we’re really sitting good with adults and teens,” Kids First family liaison worker Vera Crow Shoe said.
There is still a need of donations of clothes for babies and children up to 10 years of age.
The clothing exchange replaces the two clothing exchanges that are usually held each year at W.A. Day and G.R. Davis schools.
Donations can be dropped off at the offices of Kids First or FCSS until Friday, Aug. 23.
Fort Macleod organizations will be on hand with information and to accept registration, including Minor Hockey, the skating club, Silhouettes Dance Studio, Cindy Gray’s Dancers, Legacy Tae Kwon Do, 4-H, Allied Arts and the community garden.
“It’s a community resource fair, specifically for back to school,” O’Connor said. “It’s a party atmosphere to kick it back to school.”