The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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August 10, 2001 Issue
Special Section:
College/Back to School

Back to School Fair returns for fourth year

In 1998 when representatives of the Winnebago County Human Services Department and the Winnebago Interfaith Needs Response (WINR) developed the first Back to School Fair, it provided assistance to 200 needy children. This year the Fair's organizers are shooting to provide services for at least 400 children in the Twin Cities area.

The 2001 Back to School Fair will be held in the Allen Family Center at St. Gabriel Parish, 900 Geiger Street in Neenah, from 3-7 pm on Aug. 15. A similar fair will be held the next day in Oshkosh. Overall about 800 needy children are expected to be served in Winnebago County at the two events. Pre-screening is being done by various area referral agencies.

The intent of the Back to School Fair is to provide each child attending with a backpack, school supplies, vouchers for clothing and shoes, any required immunizations, and hygiene and grooming products. In addition, information on resources available to families through various community agencies will also be displayed and available during the fair. Volunteers from numerous organizations, churches, and businesses either help staff the event or provide products used at the Fair.

According to Dave Ebben, St. Gabriel's WINR liaison, cash donations are also needed to help meet the demand on school-related needs for children in the Neenah-Menasha area. Donations can be sent to WINR, c/o Winnebago County Human Services, 211 N. Commercial St., Neenah WI 54956, Attn: Kay Buser-Belot. According to Ebben, "This year the need is just too great. Rather than having a waiting list, we have decided to increase the number and help as many people as we can. We are trying to help the neediest."

WINR is comprised of a consortium of churches throughout Winnebago County. The Back to School Fair committee includes representatives from Best Friends of Neenah-Menasha, Career Pros, Inc., Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Lutheran Brotherhood, the Neenah-Menasha Chapter of the American Red Cross, Winnebago County Department of Human Services, and WINR.

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