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Kids get loaded book bags, loads of fun

Two thousand backpacks filled with school supplies will be given away at the Community & Family Back to School Extravaganza on Saturday.

Published August 1, 2003

BROOKSVILLE - There will be backpacks and pats on the back Saturday at the second annual Community & Family Back to School Extravaganza.

Sponsored by Somebody Cares Hernando and Childhood Development Services, "Operation Backpack," at the Jerome Brown Community Center and Tom Varn Park, is intended to draw children from all over the county and all walks of life.

"Everyone can come out and enjoy this event," said Dennis Gomas of Somebody Cares. "Of course, there is a charitable motivation for it. But the events and activities are for the whole community."

The group has 2,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to be given away at the event to families who need a lift, Gomas said.

To help students fill their backpacks, nine arcade games will be available, each with a supply of pencils, rulers, erasers and composition books to be given away as prizes. About $50,000 worth of supplies and other goods will be given away, Gomas said.

Besides back-to-school giveaways, the event will feature live entertainment, drawings and raffles, face painting and food.

The event represents cooperation between the faith community and government agencies, and only with the help of more than 150 local organizations can Somebody Cares make going back to school something to celebrate, Gomas said.

"This really is a community effort," he said. "We couldn't do this without the support we get from people who care."

The Community & Family Back to School Extravaganza will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Jerome Brown Center and in the adjacent park, off W Jefferson Street in Brooksville. The event is free. For information, call 799-7709.

- Joy Davis-Platt covers Hernando County arts and entertainment and can be reached at 848-1435. Send e-mail to

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