"This year is going to be crazy. It's gonna be weird," parent Makaila Wilson said on Wednesday as she picked up backpacks for her children at the Salvation Army's annual backpack giveaway.
Wilson, like a lot of parents, is entering the school year with a bit of uncertainty.
The school year is happening, however, exactly how that looks will vary from district to district. Some kids will stay at home to learn, others might be heading back to class, and some kids may experience a bit of both, but whether they return to the classroom or living room this fall, kids will still have one universal need: Supplies.
On Wednesday, for the 11th year in a row, the Salvation Army was there to fill the need for the kids of the Inland Northwest.
"Eventually, the kids are going back to school," Salvation Army Major Ken Perine said. "In the meantime, as they do the work from home, they still need paper, pens and all of the regular school supplies and they need stuff to keep their things organized."
Enter the backpack.
The Salvation Army has 4200 backpacks to hand out in 39 different styles, full of pens, pencils, markers, paper, rulers and a new tool in their school supply arsenal: Masks.
"As part of the backpacks, they'll have a pack of 5 masks inside so when they go back to school, they'll be ready," Maj. Perine said.
When it comes to kids possibly having to wear their new tool at school, parents at Wednesday's giveaway were a bit hesitant on how well that might go over.
"I think wearing masks at school is going to be really hard," Wilson said. "(It's) really hard for them not to touch their face and to keep the germs out of their face, so I'm really not sure how that's gonna work."
Another parent, Kayte Blackwell, agrees.
"I can't get my son to wear his mask properly over his face to go in the grocery store and get a gallon of milk, so I think getting 7 and 8 years old to do it is going to be absolutely ridiculous," Blackwell said.
However, while there may be more questions than answers entering the school year, Wednesday's gifts of backpacks and must haves for back-to-school (or back-to-home) were appreciated by all.
"I'm a single parent of three kids. I can't go spend $200 on supplies and especially going into high school this year, they need way more and I just can't do it, so I'm very thankful for the supplies that we do get," Blackwell added.
The Salvation Army has 4200 backpacks full of supplies available to area children. As of 3:15pm on Wednesday, they had handed out nearly 2200. They will be at the Spokane County Fairgrounds until 6:00pm on Wednesday and if they don't run out by then, they'll find another way to distribute the rest. For more information, CLICK HERE or call 509-325-6810.
All backpacks and supplies will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. Parents or guardians will need to bring the following items:
• Photo ID for parent or guardian
• Proof of every child living in your household (school registration, DSHS statement, ID card, medical card, etc.).
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"This year is going to be crazy. It's gonna be weird," parent Makaila Wilson said on Wednesd…
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