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Back to School Fair set for Aug. 4

When East Missouri Action Agency (EMAA) announced they couldn’t do their annual Back to School Fair anymore, another group stepped up.

This year, Young Faith in Christ will be hosting the back to school fair with help from EMAA.

“I’m on the St. Francois County Community Partnership Board and Rob (Baker) said they were not able to do it,” said Marcus Archer, executive director of YFC which has an office at the Farmington Sk8 Park. “We stepped up.”

The back to school fair will be start at 9 a.m. Aug. 4 at the Central High School Field House. EMAA will be taking the applications and doing the referrals for YFC.

Archer said the field house is air-conditioned and that was one priority he had when taking over the event. Last year, it was held at the Mineral Area College Field House which does not have air conditioning.

Archer, who took over as director more than a year ago, said YFC works with a lot of high-risk students so this fair fits right in with what they do.

Last year, the back to school fair helped about 550 children from low-income families. They are planning on 600 children this year.

At the fair, each eligible child receives a backpack of items and school supplies based on the age-group the child falls into.

Last year, students received health screenings, boxes of tissues from USA Drug, haircut coupons from National Academy of Beauty Arts, hygiene kits from Parkland Hospital, clothes from area church groups, savings tips from First State Bank, $10 coupons to buy new shoes paid for by donations, nutrition information from the University Extension Office and more.

Gladys Edwards, who has helped out with the past fairs, is going around the county with Archer asking for donations.

In an hour Wednesday morning, she’d managed to get 600 chocolate milks and 100 juices donated for the fair from Prairie Farms. Country Mart in Park Hills also agreed to donate hot dogs for children and glazed donuts for the volunteers who are running the fair.

Besides hot dogs and milk/juice, Edwards hopes businesses and restaurants will make donations such as food gift cards/coupons.

If you can assist in any way, call Young Faith in Christ at 573-747-1705 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at

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