Backpack giveaway held across Marion County: Photos

FAIRMONT — Children in Marion County needing school supplies before the start of the school year received help with that on Saturday. 

Marion County Starts Smart held its backpack giveaway at several locations.

These locations were the Monongah PACE building, the Mannington Food Pantry, Windmill Park, the Marion County Election Center, the Grant Town Fire Hall, Rivesville United Methodist Church and Christian Love Ministries.

This is the third year for the giveaway.

Marion County Starts Smart gave backpacks filled with school supplies to children in grades pre-k through 12 regardless of income. The organization conducted a school-supply drive from June until Aug. 7 to be able to do the giveaway, president of Marion County Starts Smart Teresa Wright previously told the Times West Virginian.

At Windmill Park, the giveaway was held in conjunction with an information fair.

The information fair was sponsored by Marion County Starts Smart, Prince Hall Masons Meridian Lodge No. 17 in Fairmont, the Fairmont Community Youth Development Center, the West Side Action Coalition, the Rough Riders Motorcycle Club and the Free Masons Mount Moriah Lodge in Morgantown, administrator of the Fairmont Community Youth Development Center Diamond Brown said.

The Fairmont Community Youth Development Center got 30 freshmen from West Virginia University to come help out at the event, she said.

There were 65 children registered to receive backpacks at the giveaway at Windmill Park, but they had enough to give out 75 backpacks, she said.

"I'm thinking that there's probably at least between 200 to 300," Brown said about the number of people who attended the event.

At the information fair the Marion County Literacy Volunteers, Woodforest National Bank, Mon County Habitat for Humanity, Main Street Fairmont, Marion Unity Apartments and the National Youth Advocate Program gave out information about their organizations.

There was also a booth selling jewelry and other goods at the information fair.

This is the first year that Marion County Literacy Volunteers has participated in the Marion County Starts Smart backpack giveaway, director of the Marion County Literacy Volunteers Beth Richendollar, said.

"We're giving out free books," she said.

As of 2 p.m. Marion County Literacy Volunteers had already given out 50 books to children, she said.

During the backpack giveaway there was also a picnic with food and drinks.

There was a car wash where children were washing cars to raise money for the Fairmont Bulldogs Youth Football and Cheerleading. New Beginnings Worship Center provided all the supplies for the car wash, Brown said.

The West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center brought some of its birds to show the people attending the backpack giveaway and information fair.

The Marion County Rescue Squad, the Fairmont Police Department and the Fairmont Fire Department also came to the event. They had a battle of the sirens, Brown said.

Revel Williams, owner of Simple Cutz Barber Shop on Adams Street, was at Windmill Park offering free haircuts for boys in attendance at the event.

"I've been here three and a half years," Williams said. "Fairmont has been supporting my business. Why not give back a little bit?"

Darnekka Jones brought her daughter Da'lyriah Winston, 4, to the backpack giveaway. Her daughter is starting pre-k this school year, Jones said.

"I think it's good," Jones said about the giveaway and fair.

Email Michelle Dillon at

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