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The 16th annual Tools for School Expo delivered needed school supplies and much more for 735 kindergarten through 12th grade students from Newaygo County on Tuesday.

“We are working with our whole community to ensure all students in Newaygo County enter the 2019-2020 school year on a level playing field with the essentials they need to succeed,” said Mike Voyt, TrueNorth’s Volunteer and Special Projects Coordinator.

Students received new backpacks with school supplies; Family Health Care vision tests and dental exams; free haircuts from seven volunteering stylists; access to 20 local agencies and programs. Camp Newaygo’s Rock Wall and the Fremont Police Department’s bounce house were part of the event at the TrueNorth Service Center in Fremont, with 42 volunteers helping out.

“I probably would’ve had to have spent the money I had to shop for their clothes instead,” said Deanna, a Fremont mother with two high school-age daughters and two elementary school-age sons. “Honestly, this program helps a lot of families; especially my family, too.”

“It’s a lot of help for them,” said Amber, a Fremont woman with her 11-year-old niece and 8-year-old nephew because their mother, her sister, was working.

More than 1,000 students from low-income families will get the school supply-filled backpacks when fully distributed through Tools for School, Voyt said.

Tools for School is funded, in part, by grants from The Gerber Foundation and the Fremont Area Community Foundation.

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