The Back-2-School Extravaganza, held at John Cain Park in Stuttgart, gathers hundreds throughout Arkansas County.
Providing hundreds of backpacks and supplies from the tiniest preschooler to the high school senior, LaTaaka Harvey, director and founder of non-profit Community Outreach Programs for our Youth (COPY), wasn’t going to let a pandemic stop the vision of community service.
This Stuttgart native, who left the Stuttgart School District this year and accepted a promotion as a middle school counselor at Drew Central, said it was very important to continue this mandate of service set forth by God.
“I love serving others and I must carry out things of completion,” said Harvey. “Even though the pandemic was in place and I am in a different place, my heart is here to help young people and families.”
In her efforts, Harvey has managed to supply approximately 1,500 backpacks for both Stuttgart and DeWitt. Donations were made possible by Lennox Industries, an anonymous family and one local Stuttgart community church.
Community volunteers helped fill the backpacks and the backpacks were distributed to both private and public schools in both cities who responded to her offer letter after having to change up the distribution process this year.
“We believe in safety first for our youth, their family, and the community so COPY devised a plan that would still assist in alignment with COVID-19 guidelines,” said Harvey.
Harvey said all building administrators were contacted.
The partnership with DeWitt’s Back-To-School committee allowed all students to receive backpacks and the response from Stuttgart will allow all students pre-k to 8th grade to receive backpacks.
“We had it delivered to each school to distribute when students return for instruction,” said Harvey. “I am so amazed about how God did that without being able to fundraise like normal. He is so awesome.”
This year marks the 12th consecutive year for the Annual Back-2-School Extravaganza in Stuttgart.
With a different methodology of distribution, Harvey said the importance of this event really helps families who look forward to receiving these items.
According to Harvey, COPY will still continue to support activities throughout the school year which is made possible by community donations.
If you would like to make a donation, donations can be made to COPY and mailed to P. O. Box 524, Stuttgart, AR 72160.