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Day of Hope makes back to school easy

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POLSON — The annual back to school block party and health fair, Day of Hope, returned to Polson last weekend, this time with the addition of an entire semitruck load of goods to give away.

A combined effort by numerous organizations and nonprofits throughout the valley, including the New Life Church, Tribal Health and county-wide emergency responders, the Day of Hope began as an annual event back in 2019. 

“It’s kind of like a health fair and a block party meeting each other,” Pastor Jason Burrough explained. “That’s the goal.”

This year looked a little different than previous events for a couple of reasons. While Tribal Health still held free health screenings, Lake County Health Department conducted car seat safety checks while local churches and nonprofits gave away shoes, backpacks and other school supplies to make back to school easier for kids and parents alike. A major new addition was the semitruck sent with a load of goods, free of charge, by Convoy of Hope in Springfield, Missouri.

An organization with the Assemblies of God, to which New Life Church belongs, has reach across the world. With that, it has both a disaster response wing, which allows them to send resources to natural disasters throughout the U.S., as well as rural compassion events.

“Being here on the reservation and different fires and things that’ve happened … I just put a call in, and they said they’d be glad to,” Burrough said. The process began several months ago, but as firefighters deal with numerous blazes this summer, Burrough commented that it was especially timely. The arrival of the semi filled with free food and household goods, including things like Cliff bars and water, commonly requested by first responders, is fortuitous. 

Any goods that weren’t given out on Saturday will likely be donated to the Polson Food Bank, Burrough explained. Although, with approximate 2,500 people in attendance, the day-of distribution went quite well. 

Other changes this year were some last-minute alterations in the first responders attending. As a fun addition, each year local first responders and the National Guard attend to let kids tour response vehicles and learn a little more about each department. The National Guard wasn’t able to attend to attend this year and the Polson Fire Department didn’t have enough staff on hand due to both local fires and personal obligations. So organizers reached out to Charlo and Finley Point to make sure there would be a fire truck for kids to explore. 

“We want the kids to have a good experience,” Burrough said. “It’s fun, there’s free stuff, we have food trucks as well … All in all, it’s a really great day.” 

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