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Community comes together to celebrate children, school

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POLSON – Several community groups and local businesses offered students and their families an opportunity to combine summer fun along with preparation for the upcoming school year on Saturday with a Day of Hope back-to-school wellness fair.

The event was located in downtown Polson on Third Avenue West between First Street East and First Street West. Polson United Methodist Church in partnership with New Life Church of Polson hosted the event along with other community groups, including the Rotary Club, Lions Club and Helping Hands. 

“We just want the kids to know that they are loved and supported and to give them the best start to the school year,” said Polson United Methodist Church Pastor Janet Mulroy. 

The inaugural event was free and featured music, haircuts, school supplies, dental and health screenings, inflatable jump houses, food truck vendors, bike giveaways and motivational speakers.

“The unique thing about this event is that it was both a faith and community-based project. There are not many (events) like that anymore. It says a lot about the Polson community that we can do faith and community together. It makes for a better event all around,” Mulroy said.  

To help ease the cost of back-to-school shopping, 160 backpacks crammed full of school supplies like erasers, folders, notebooks and pencils were given away.

“We had backpacks for every grade from kindergarten through eighth grade,” said Mulroy. “We had the supplies list from every grade. Every backpack was filled with school supplies for that particular grade.”

Students and their families also had an opportunity to learn about health and safety. Kristine Torgenrud, event co-organizer from New Life Church of Polson said, “Lake County Health Department teamed up with us. They usually do their own safety thing in August by providing a health fair. They heard about what we were doing and wanted to join us in the event.”

Torgenrud hopes to see the event grow: “This year was spectacular, but next year we are planning to make it bigger.”

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