Brandi Jones, left, branch manager of City National Bank in Montgomery, made a donation on behalf of the bank to Smithers Mayor Dr. Anne Cavalier last week for assistance with a school supplies drive sponsored by the City of Smithers.

The City of Smithers is once again conducting a book bag giveaway to make school supplies available for children in the Upper Kanawha Valley area.

According to Mayor Dr. Anne Cavalier, city officials check Fayette and Kanawha county school websites for lists of suggested and required supplies for students for the coming school year.

"We go down through that list and we buy until we run out of money," Cavalier said.

Book bags are divided into supplies for grades PK-3, 4-7 and 8-12.

The giveaway will be Thursday and Friday, Sept. 17 and 18 at the Gateway Center at 2 Greyhound Lane in Smithers. It will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and go until supplies are exhausted. Supplies will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Covid-19 safety precautions must be observed if the bags can be made available curbside for pickup. If weather forces distribution from inside the center, individuals coming to make a pickup will be asked to park, then come and ring the door bell.

Cavalier said the public made a big commitment to the project once things got rolling last year. "Last year, we started with 50 bags, and people kept bringing us book bags, supplies and money, and we ended up giving away 203 bags last year," she said.

Anyone wishing to donate money or supplies can contact Smithers City Hall at 304-442-5282.

The public looks to municipalities to "find ways to help our residents, especially the children, and that's what we're trying to do," Cavalier said.

City National Bank's Montgomery location made a $200 donation to the cause last week. The aim was "being able to help the kids in our community, and keeping the funds here, and knowing it's going to do good in our own community," said Brandi Pritt, branch manager of City National's Montgomery location.

Also, the Quincy Walmart made a significant donation of supplies, according to Cavalier.

In addition to the supplies, the city has also given away almost 600 school desks in recent weeks. Desks went mainly to area residents, but "we had people come from as far away as Pittsburgh and Marietta, Ohio (to secure desks) so they could do virtual education at home," Cavalier said.

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