The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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August 18, 2013

More than 1,000 descend on Ashtabula County Fairgrounds for school supplies

JEFFERSON — The line for school supplies, and other necessities of life, wound its way through the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds as more than a thousand people showed up for help on Saturday afternoon.

The Signature Health Foundation and Ashtabula County Children Services initiated the event to help parents provide school supplies for their children in a time of economic need in Ashtabula County.

The need appears to be real as people waited in the long lines in hopes of getting supplies, food, shoes, socks, underwear or maybe a free haircut.

Xabeth Marsh had the unenviable job of walking through the line handing out paper work for people seeking the school supplies.

Many area agencies assisted in the 3-hour event including local hairdressers, who provided the haircuts; Gateway Church, 1,000 pairs of shoes, the Church of Latter Day Saints, socks and underwear; and the Salvation Army, who provided 1,000 hot dogs for lunch.

Homesafe partnered with the Ashtabula County Medical Center run Premiere Fitness to provide exercise classes, the Conneaut Public Library also presented a puppet show.

Charmaine Estep waited in the long line hoping to get a back pack for her children. “I was amazed (at the turnout). It shows how much people are in need,” she said.

The Gateway Church portion of the event included volunteer Bill Kingzett. “I am totally blown away. There are a lot of needs here,” he said.

Julie Wood, outreach coordinator for Homesafe, said they had a small event planned for a group of teenagers but decided to partner with other organizations to meet the needs of more people.

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