For the past 25 years, Manna House has ensured students are prepared with a full set of supplies on the first day of school. The deadline to register for the benefit is near.

Through sponsorships and support through the community, Manna House is able to provide students with pre-packaged sets of supplies. This year, executive director Sissy Franklin estimates 325 children will receive school supplies from the nonprofit.

“We have the potential for another 25 to 30 kids,” Franklin assured.

The last day to sign up for supplies through Manna House is Friday, Aug. 3. “If we do have people who miss signups, we can get them a pretty good start. […] Any school supplies left over we give to the teachers,” she added.

“It’s enough to get them started, not through the entire year. All of the supplies are also specified for the grade that child is in and it’s what’s on the list before school starts,” Franklin elaborated.

The nonprofit has done back-to-school celebrations, and for the fourth year, guests will have a chance to soak the mayor in a dunk tank. The Mayor’s Back to School Bash will be from 9 a.m. — 12 p.m. Aug. 11 at Frank Seale Middle School.

“We always have a fun day for them. And, this year is going to be so cool. We’ve got more vendors than we have ever had," Franklin emphasized.

Martin Marietta Materials-Midlothian is the primary sponsor. A DJ will be on hand playing music and narrating family-fun games. There will also be a 36-foot tall water slide, a 31-foot log jammer slide for the bigger kids and adults and then smaller slides for the young ones. There is going to be a boat ride, a zip line, 32-foot tall rock wall, carnival tents and more.

Atmos Energy will grill hot dogs and serve lunch. Other free opportunities include haircuts, dentist vouchers, eye exams by the Lions Club, a shot clinic sign-up. Churches will hand out the popcorn, United Way of West Ellis County will give away books.

“It’s more and more every year. More and more people want to get on board, and I just ball every year. It’s so amazing to see how the community come together for the neediest of the needy — kids that don’t want anything special but just want to fit in," Franklin advocated.

Also, this is the time for registered parents to pick up school supplies and backpacks.

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450