For more than 10 years, the Ed Davis Learning Center has helped students start the school year off right with its Back to School Giveaway.

This year though, they expanded the number of students they are reaching, and middle or high school students will want to check their new backpack closely because 10 lucky students will find a special back-to-school item - a laptop computer.

Robbi Barber is helping lead a group of organizations and individuals prepare for the annual giveaway on Aug. 16 from 6-8 p.m. They are expecting 200-plus students this year, up from the normal 150, she said.

“Our goal is to make sure every child entering elementary, middle and high school has enough supplies to start the school year,” said Barber, who is the director of the Bishop Scholars Program at Georgetown College. “Preparation is over half of the key to start the school year, and when our kids walk in and they are not prepared with items they need to bring it is not setting them up for success,”  “We intentionally made it bigger. In a sense, we have run out of supplies by 7 p.m., so this year we are hoping to not run out as fast and serve more kids,” Barber said.

And don’t forget the backpacks and the laptops, the first time they have had those items at the giveaway. The backpacks are being provided by New Covenant Church and the African American Collaboration (AAC) at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, which is also providing the laptops.

The laptops will be randomly placed in backpacks for middle and high school students and they are looking forward to seeing the students faces as they open the backpack and check what is inside,” Erica Nims with the AAC said.

“We are a group of engineers looking for nonprofits to donate and give away laptops,” Nims said. “This seemed perfect and we hope to do it every year.”

Barber said they are dividing the backpacks into 100 elementary, 60 middle school and 40 high school. They will be given out one per child, who must be present.

“The parent has to be there with a children to get a backpack. We have had parents come in the past and say my three kids are at football practice and want a backpack, but we can’t do that,” she said. “The children have to be there.”

Willie Gossey, vice president of Ed Davis Community, Inc., said they are fortunate to have more than 10 partners in this year’s giveaway. Money is raised for the event through the annual fish fry and other events to cover the costs of this and other community outreach efforts.

“We are blessed to have people like Toyota AAC and various churches join in and help,” he said. “It is an opportunity for students to receive stuff for school they may not be able to get. The cost of what students are asked to provide can be an obstacle especially for a single parent or someone on disability or assistance. And it is a chance for students to help others and earn community service hours.”

The Great Crossing High School girls basketball team was on hand helping stuff the backpacks last Friday.

Local leaders will also be at the event, including Judge Pam Goodwine.

Barber and Nims both said the chance to help other students succeed is what their organizations are about.

“For our group and myself, our goal is to help as many kids and people in general. We don’t want kids starting school without a durable backpack or supplies and not worry about what they have or don’t have,” Nims said. “We are trying to put our focus on Scott County. There are people right here who need help.”

“I’ve been working with the Ed Davis Center 13, 14 years and you see the great need, and my heart and everyone would speak to this, is for the children,” Barber said. “We come together for the common good of the kids, and that brings a bright light for me.”

Steve MCClain can be reached at

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