Backpack distribution scheduled for Tuesday in the city | News, Sports, Jobs

Volunteers help with the 2022 Chautauqua Center backpack raffle. photo submitted

For the ninth year in a row, the Chautauqua Center and support organization The Waterfront Foundation are spearheading a backpack and school supply giveaway to benefit local students.

Volunteers recently came together to assemble nearly 2,000 backpacks that were filled with school supplies for the Chautauqua Center’s community picnic events, as well as for all school districts in the county. Volunteers came from the Kiwanis Club of Jamestown, the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Board of Realtors, the Chautauqua County Office of Senior Services, and the Rotary Club AM of Greater Jamestown. The program is made possible by donations from Fredonia Walmart, Lakewood Walmart, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of WNY, and AM Rotary Club of Greater Jamestown.

Staff at the Chautauqua Center are preparing for the organization’s largest annual events, formerly known as Family Fun Days, after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic. The largely popular events have been rebranded this year with an emphasis on healthy eating and active lifestyles. TCC Community Picnics will be held Monday in Dunkirk at the Salvation Army, 704 Central Ave., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. In Jamestown, the event will be held Tuesday at Jackson-Taylor Park on Washington Street from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. p.m

Free family events are presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of WNY. The events will feature Chautauqua County’s largest backpack and school supply giveaway, as well as healthy food, music, bouncy houses, kids’ games including sack races, water balloon toss, prizes and face painting. New this year is the addition of the Jamestown Public Market Mobile Market which will offer free produce to attendees as well as Cornell Cooperative Extension food demonstrations, recipes and information on SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks promotions that make eating fresh food more affordable. The Chautauqua Center will also provide free health screenings and education, and on-site clinical providers, including pediatricians and nutritionists who can help answer parents’ questions about healthy eating and preventive care.

To receive a backpack, students must have a family member or caregiver over the age of 18 present. There will be a variety of supplies available to choose from based on age group. All people of any age are welcome to attend this free community event and take advantage of the education and gifts available to all.

Local vendors are also on hand to provide youth and parents with information and resources from 40 community organizations, including education, health, advocacy and social service programs.

National Health Center Week is an annual celebration to raise awareness of the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers. The Chautauqua Center is a community health center established in 2012 with locations in Dunkirk and Jamestown providing health services and support to more than 12,000 people throughout the Chautauqua region. The center facilitates events and giveaways that benefit the entire community, not just its patients. The staff works with community members and local school districts to ensure children have access to health care and ancillary services.

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