On August 9, the annual backpack drive organized by Ray of Hope Family Services took place at Louisa Town Park.
Ray of Hope, a Louisa-based company that provides mentorship services to at-risk youth, organized this year’s campaign with the Auxila Group, a group of Louisa natives who have moved but are returning to the county for events. supportive communities. Besides Ray of Hope and Auxila, 20 other local businesses sponsored the event.
“We had bigger crowds in 2019 and I think the COVID precautions prevented more people from coming, which is understandable,” said Raymar Byrd, Ray of Hope program director.
Unlike similar events in the area that cater to families with limited incomes, the backpacking trip was open to everyone. The day’s events started at 11 a.m. and ended around 3 p.m. after all backpacks and raffle prizes were distributed.
Children had to have a raffle ticket to receive a backpack or win a prize. Prizes included several Walmart gift cards, wireless headphones, a 32-inch smart TV, a Kindle Fire, and a signed basketball and poster of the University of Virginia men’s basketball team. According to Byrd, there were 250 backpacks available and of these, 200 were distributed along with supplies.
In addition to the raffles, there were many other activities for families. Organizers provided games and a bouncy house for the kids, and Louisa NAACP had a voter registration table open to eligible adults.
“We felt that we had been very successful in not only reaching out to the community, but also bringing the community together for great causes and good vibes,” Byrd said.