Remember the days when you showed up on the first day of school with a pencil, black and white composition book and your lunch bag?
Those days are long gone. Now families are provided with extensive lists of “must-haves” before school starts.
In order to help families who may have trouble affording these necessities, Portage Walgreens sponsored a Back to School Kids' Day on Saturday, August 6. A representative from the Portage Police and several Portage Fire Fighters were also on hand to help prepare the children.
Senior Pharmacy Technician Deb Martinez, who has been with Walgreens for 25 years, has organized the Back to School Fair for the past ten years.
“We were always doing special stuff for adults,” Martinez said. “I wanted to do something for kids. My husband was a teacher at Aylesworth at the time, so we were really involved with children. I tried to think of some way to help them, and we came up with Kids’ Day.”
She started by inviting the Portage police to come fingerprint and create IDs for the children. The IDs have a photo and fingerprint, as well as the child’s current height, weight, address and phone number.
“If one child is saved because of this, I figured it was all worth it,” she said.
Over the years, the Kids Day has grown in scope. Families brought their children to receive free red Walgreens’ bags filled with treats, such as bottled water, candies and snack bars, as well as school supplies. Martinez and co-worker Alexis McKee handed out the bags and offered parents a chance to sign up for a chance to win a backpack or gift card.
Portage Police Reserve Officer Robert Anderson made the Kids’ ID cards.
Further along the aisle, Portage fire fighters Chuck Litzkow, Dave Malis, Kris Bogner and Teresa Janavitz talked with the children and handed out pens, pencils, rulers, glow sticks and safety stickers.
“We always look forward to events like this,” Litzkow said. “It’s great seeing the kids and knowing we’re making a difference.”