A child smiles while a woman cuts her hair.
A girl getting her haircut during the third annual Back2School event in Ashland smiles. Credit: Dillon Carr

ASHLAND — Hundreds of children took to Ashland on Monday to receive free backpacks, school supplies, clothes and haircuts before heading back to class.

The third annual Back2School Event moved indoors because of the rain, but that didn’t hold anyone back.

Vehicles wrapped around Cleveland Avenue and Third Street to drive through Associated Charities. Once in the driveway, volunteers met the drivers with their choice of a backpack filled with supplies and snacks.

“Keep moving, please,” said Tammy Stevens, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services at Ashland City Schools. She directed vehicles out of the parking lot, back on Cleveland Avenue to keep traffic moving smoothly.

One parent said he waited 45 minutes in line for the backpacks.

For Deklan Lozier, 3, of Mansfield, it was well worth the wait — and the drive for his parents.

His parents are sending him to preschool this year. He packed his brand new blue backpack with gold fish snacks and supplies.

Down the road, at Calvary Baptist Church on Davis Street, families walked through the church to receive clothes, shoes and various supplies. Many signed up for free haircuts from 10 various salons. There were 30 stylists in all.

“It gives me a lot of joy to see this all come together,” said Josh Packard, principal at Ashland High School.

The event grew out of a smaller version held at Reagan Elementary School.

“And we just wanted to see it get bigger,” said Sandra Tunnell, director of Ashland Main Street, one of the organizations involved in planning the event.

The event now offers school supplies, haircuts, clothes and shoes for preschool-aged children to high school teens. Back2School receives its donations from United Way’s “Stuff the Bus” event. It happened at Walmart on Aug. 5 during the state’s tax-free shopping weekend.

The mission of the Back2School event is to inspire positive change and make a lasting impact on the lives of students and families of Ashland County.

The Education section is brought to you by Ashland Family YMCA.

Lead reporter for Ashland Source who happens to own more bikes than pairs of jeans. His coverage focuses on city and county government, and everything in between. He lives in Mansfield with his wife and...