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Coronavirus forces changes in Cincinnati Children’s back-to-school bag giveaways

Cincinnati Children's Medical Center in Liberty Township is changing its annual back-to-school giveaway due to the coronavirus threat. This year's distribution will take place at various local venues, say officials. (File Photo\Journal-News)
Cincinnati Children's Medical Center in Liberty Township is changing its annual back-to-school giveaway due to the coronavirus threat. This year's distribution will take place at various local venues, say officials. (File Photo\Journal-News)

An annual tradition of handing out back-to-school bags is continuing despite the coronavirus threat but with some changes.

The yearly Cincinnati Children’s Back to School event, which was usually held at the Liberty Center complex in Liberty Twp., will now be spread out to five different area locations to enhance safety, said medical center officials.

“We knew we had to do things differently this year because of the pandemic,” said Michelle Hopkins, senior specialist, community relations at Cincinnati Children’s.

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“I’m really proud of the way our group pulled together to find a way to provide this valuable information to families,” said Michelle Hopkins, senior specialist, community relations at Cincinnati Children’s. “We feel it’s important to continue to serve the community in the best way we can.”

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Cincinnati Children’s Liberty Community Advisory Committee, which organizes the event, is providing the clear plastic bags containing a protective mask, coupons, info on community resources, details on the tele-health program provided by Cincinnati Children’s and useful tips on the coronavirus “with a focus on back to school,” said Hopkins.

While typically held at Liberty Center during August’s tax-free shopping weekend, due to concerns over the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), organizers decided the safest way to continue the event would be to offer back to school bags at several locations throughout the area, she said.

The committee has confirmed the following pick-up locations for families from Aug. 3 -14, while supplies last:

● Boys and Girls Club of West Chester/Liberty, 8749 Cincinnati Dayton Road

● Flip Side, Kendra Scott and Auntie Anne’s at Liberty Center, 7100 Foundry Row

● Lakota Family YMCA, 6703 Yankee Road

● Journey Church (8/8 only) 7974 Barret Road; and

● Liberty Township Fire Department, 6682 Princeton Glendale Road

The leader of the 16,800-student Lakota Schools appreciates the help.

“This year especially, it is of vital importance to be able to share resources and information with families throughout the community,” said Lakota Superintendent Matt Miller. “I applaud the committee for thinking outside the box in order to safely continue the annual event.”

Helping with the back-to-school bags were the district’s two EDGE Teen Centers.

High school students who attend EDGE Teen Center are earning service hours by assembling 600 bags for families,” said Brenda Yablonsky, executive director of EDGE.

“Our students are happy to help with this event,” said Brenda Yablonsky, executive director of EDGE. “This is a great opportunity to give back to the community.”

More information can be found at Children’s website.