By SHERI GASSAWAY
Sunset Hills, MO – Laborers’ Local 110 helped more than 150 of its members’ families ease the burden of back-to-school expenses with its 10th Annual Backpack Drive.
Local 110 donated $9,000 toward the cost of 400 backpacks filled with age-appropriate school supplies for the event, which was held Aug. 9 at its union hall located in Sunset Hills. It also featured free haircuts, health screenings, dental supplies and a drawing for a $25 Target gift card.
Carole Meier, Local 110 office manager and the event’s organizer, said the backpacks were given to children in preschool through 12th grade. Members were notified about the event by postcards.
“We were delighted with the turnout,” Meier said. “For the first time in the 10 years we’ve been doing the event, we ran out of backpacks by the time it ended.”
Jill Browers, of Ironton, Mo., said this was the third year in a row her family has attended the event. Browers, her husband and their two sons – all armed with coffee in hand – drove an hour-and-a-half to get there.
“It saves me a ton of money, especially since they added the haircuts,” Browers said. “It helps out a lot.”
Dennis Ortmann, who has three sons, has attended the event for several years. While his youngest son was getting his backpack, Ortmann took advantage of the free blood pressure check.
“We’ve been coming for years,” he said. “It saves me a few bucks, so it helps out in that aspect.”
Local 110 started the event about 10 years ago in response to the recession, Meier said. It decided to continue the event because of the great response from member families.
“This year’s event by far was our best,” she said. “It was a huge success, and it gets bigger and bigger each year.”