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Operation Backpack gets kids ready for school

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Published:   |   Updated: August 11, 2013 at 02:50 PM

BROOKSVILLE - The line leading up to Jerome Brown Community Center slinked and coiled all the way down to Darby Lane on Saturday morning, with children and families lining up to receive backpacks and school supplies for the upcoming year.

"The first hour and a half is always like this, a big rush," said Mike Walker, director of parks and recreation for the City of Brooksville and event coordinator.

Walker said the residents toward the front of the long line began lining up around 7:30 a.m. for the annual event.

Walker said he thought 2013 marked 11 years of Operation Backpack, which helps underprivileged community members by donating the essentials for school.

School in Hernando County starts on Monday, Aug. 19.

The event was sponsored by the city's nonprofit group, Friends of the Children Inc. and community partners. Vendor tables filled the community center, with groups such as Brooksville Police, Brooksville Fire Rescue, the Hernando County Health Department, the Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill and Grace World Outreach Church.

"I think it's wonderful that the community support it," Walker said. "if it wasn't for the businesses this wouldn't happen."

Ann-Gayl Ellis of the Hernando County Health Department passed out lunch bags to kids, as well as literature for parents on the importance of nutritious lunches.

Sam Wagoner, a volunteer from the Supervisor of Elections office, said he showed up to let residents know about the plan to close certain precincts, add early voting days and how voting by absentee ballot "cuts down on mishaps" and helps to "eliminate human error" when it comes to voting.

"It's a great opportunity to get out in the community," Wagoner said. "I'm a big kid person, and it's fun to be around them."

wbiddlecombe@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5283

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