Business hosts back-to-school giveaway

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ELKHART, Ind.-- Folders, notebooks, crayons, rulers, and more were up for grabs on Thursday, and even some other supplies to keep kids safe whenever they head back to class.

“This was kind of our COVID style and kids are going back to school and everybody needs a little bit of assistance with their school supplies,” Great Lakes Forest Products Owner Jenny Smith said.

Great Lakes Forest Products in Elkhart hosted a school supply giveaway for their employee’s kids, even though they won't be returning to the classroom just yet! Officials announced Thursday that all Elkhart County schools will begin the school year online until September 28.

“We’re handing out the masks for little children, the hand sanitizers, and tissues in addition to their regular school supplies, Smith said.

This year Great Lakes had to do things a bit differently, including giving away masks to kids thanks to the pandemic.

“With COVID we’re not able to have six or 700 people gathered together, so we were trying to think of what we could do to have a family event for the entire family and we decided on this program,” Smith said.

To ensure that this event was safe for everyone, Great Lakes Owner Jenny Smith made sure safety precautions were in place.

"We are very COVID safe here,” Smith said. “The social distancing, the mask, the shields, the hand sanitizer, all the three main things that the CDC is telling us to do.”

Smith said that this is their first time doing a school supply giveaway, with the main purpose to give back and say thank you to their hard workers.

“It’s just so great to be able to give back to our employees,” Smith said. “We want to say thank you for doing an awesome job this year, to help us all get through this COVID crisis that we’ve been in together, and just really thank you to all of our employees and their families.”

Any leftover supplies will be offered again to employees on Friday, and what’s left from that will be given to Elkhart Community Schools for the kids.

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