A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

NKy Harvest getting backpacks filled with supplies ready to distribute Saturday; breakfast to be served

More than 900 backpacks filled with school supplies will be given away to schoolchildren from low-income families on Saturday, August 10 at the 19th annual Backpacks and Breakfast, the largest school readiness event in Northern Kentucky.

Volunteers have been busy packing backpacks.

The event, put on by Northern Kentucky Harvest, begins at 9 a.m. and continues until 11 a.m. in Goebel Park at Fifth and Philadelphia streets in Covington’s MainStrasse. Participants typically start lining up for backpacks as early as 6:30 a.m.

Frisch’s, which was Northern Kentucky Harvest’s original partner in the project, will once again serve a free breakfast to all who attend.
Backpacks and Breakfast is open to qualified families in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties with children in kindergarten through 12th grade. The backpacks filled with new grade-specific school supplies will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis to low-income families. Parents should bring a photo I.D. for themselves, Social Security or medical cards for their children and a recent (within 30 days) piece of mail with their name and address on it for proof of residence.

Northern Kentucky Harvest is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that collects food, clothing and other supplies for food banks and other organizations that serve low-income families in Northern Kentucky.

Getting ready for Saturday

Backpacks and Breakfast, Northern Kentucky Harvest’s signature event, started in 2001 when 150 backpacks were distributed.

“We recognized that back-to-school expenses posed a real hardship for low-income families already struggling to pay for food, housing, utilities, transportation, and health care,” said Paul Gottbrath, board president of Northern Kentucky Harvest.

Over the years, the event has steadily grown with a total of nearly 11,000 backpacks given away through 2018.

Major sponsors are the Butler Foundation and the R.C. Durr Foundation. Other financial supporters include the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Summertime Kids Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the Western & Southern Financial Fund, St. Pius X Church and the Sofarburn Records Foundation. In-kind support is provided by Zwicker and Associates, the Covington Moose Lodge, St. Joseph Catholic Church in Cold Spring, St. Timothy Catholic Church, and Community of Faith Presbyterian Church.

“Backpacks could never have persisted so long or grown to the size it is today without the support of the community,” Gottbrath said. “We are so grateful to our sponsors, our in-kind supporters and our volunteers for making this happen every year.”

To contribute, make checks out to Northern Kentucky Harvest, c/o Be Concerned, 714 Washington St., Covington, Ky., 41011. All donations are tax deductible. For more information or to volunteer, contact Paul Gottbrath at (859) 750-2813 or paulgottbrath@gmail.com.

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