Hannibal Public Schools provide 430 families with bags of school supplies with help of Riedel Foundation and local vendors

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Quinn Disselhorst and her mom Mackenzie Disselhorst, director of the Hannibal Chamber of Commerce, fill two of the 430 bags of school supplies for Hannibal Public School District families on Tuesday morning. Megan Duncan

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Only a few weeks remain until the school bells ring in a new year, and the Hannibal Public School District is giving kids a reason to get excited.

The HPSD is hosting their first Hays Back to School Fair from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on August 12 in the Hannibal Middle School gymnasium. The event will include bounce houses, face painting, popcorn, snow cones and a photo booth. 

The fair is not only to welcome students back to school, but to provide school supply resources to district families. Every family who attends will receive school supplies from 30 vendors. 

There will also be specific school supply bags for district families who indicated a need for help.

Andrea Campbell, communication specialist for the Hannibal Public School District, said the district sent a form home with all students from pre-k to grade 12 for parents to request help with school supplies for the following year. 

“As a school district, we recognized post-Covid that we were having a lot of school supplies dropped off and donated to the school. We wanted to consolidate the effort, so none of those school supplies go unused,” Campbell said. “We wanted to pull together everyone in the community together who was doing that work to make the greatest impact.”

In response to students who returned the form for help, Campbell joined a group of helpers on Tuesday morning at what will be the Hannibal Innovation Campus, to fill 430 bags with school supplies. 

They purchased the school supplies thanks to a $15,000 gift from the Riedel Foundation, along with fees collected from 30 community sponsors who signed up as vendors. Campbell said the Hannibal Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Program helped recruit vendors through email.

“The Riedel Foundation was instrumental in us being able to do this at the capacity we have done it. We are very blessed and thankful for their gift,” Campbell said. “This is a great example for the community of nonprofit, local business and everyone just coming together to support local families.”

Funds not used on school supplies will go to Hays Helping Hands, a program through the HPSD that helps families throughout the school year. 

“Our families deal with a lot and our counselors are able to recognize needs that would otherwise go unmet,” Campbell said. “We have helped with coats for the winter. Also, a lot of people buy new shoes at the beginning of the school year, but that’s a huge financial impact in the middle of the school year.” 

Another need they have helped with is bed beds. “Bed bugs are really expensive to get rid of in the house, and can be an expense of around $1,800,” she said. “Hayes with Helping Hands funds have been able to step in for that when other resources aren’t available to help our families.”

Campbell said they hope the kickoff event will start the school year off right for Hannibal students and families.

“We want to make sure our students are safe, secure and their needs met for a successful school year. If their core needs aren’t met, they aren’t able to come and focus at school,” she said.

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