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Adopt-a-Block of Aroostook hosts Back to School bash

HOULTON, Maine — Not even a steady rain could dampen the spirits of the hundreds of people enjoying Saturday’s 11th annual Adopt-a-Block of Aroostook Back to School Party at the Military Street Baptist Church.

Children’s games, face painting, free backpacks and clothing, and a barbecue lunch complete with ice cream drew a steady stream of participants for this year’s event.

“The first year, I think we gave away 45 backpacks,” said Tammy Goetsch, one of the organizers for the event. “We were down in Monument Park and we thought 45 backpacks was a lot. This year, we are able to give out 360 backpacks full of school supplies.”

Over the past two years, Adopt-a-Block of Aroostook has partnered with the United Way of Aroostook and Walmart for the “Stuff the Bus” event that has people purchase backpacks and school supplies for those in need.

By freeing up money in this manner, Goetsch said that Adopt-a-Block was able to use additional grant money it received to purchase other articles of clothing, such as socks and underwear for not just children, but adults as well.

The group also has a storehouse filled with clothing that has been donated. All articles of clothing are free to those in need. The free school supplies, clothing and food are open to any family, regardless of income.

“We don’t turn anyone away,” Goetsch said. “We’ve even had a few families come over from Canada. Our motto is ‘Find a need and fill it.’ People who work full-time jobs can struggle to buy all the school supplies for their kids. We don’t discriminate.”

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