ICNA’s annual school supply party: Saturday, Clarkston

By David Pendered

Aug. 1 – Free back-to-school supplies for about 1,000 of DeKalb County ‘s underserved children are to be given away Saturday during a back-to-school party – complete with ice cream – to be hosted in Clarkston by the Islamic Circle of North America Relief.

ICNA’s annual Back-2-School event aims to help DeKalb County’s underserved children start school on a positive note. (Credit: ICNA)

The party, and free backpacks and supplies, are intended to create a bright start to the school year that begins in DeKalb on Monday, Aug. 8. The event is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Masjid Al Mumineen, 837 North Indian Creek Drive in Clarkston, 30021.

ICNA has served the community through this annual rite-of-passage for about 12 years. The event is part of the organization’s broader efforts to serve those who may be new to the country or experiencing circumstances where a bit of help can be a big help. The nationwide effort is known as ICNA’s #OneNationOneCause Back2School Drive.

This open-door event is intended to help some youngsters overcome any anxieties associated with attending a school for the first time, or returning to school and all the challenges it can bring. The event provides a chance for children to get readjusted to encountering and playing with others.

The playtime on Saturday is to be centered around three jump houses, where youngster can romp and play with friends old and new.

Sweet treats, for those allowed to have them, include ice cream and Italian ice cups to be dispensed from an ice cream truck. ICNA has prepaid for 800 treats.

The back-to-school supplies are the basic materials students and pupils need when they enter the classroom – folders, pencils, sharpeners, erasers, notebooks, crayons and glue sticks. Each child who attends will be provided a new backpack to carry the supplies.

ICNA’s outreach also includes the donation of about 400 backpacks to organizations in counties surrounding DeKalb that are to be provided to underserved families.

These sorts of supplies can be taken for granted in an era when computers in the classroom are ubiquitous. Even the county’s application for free- or reduced-prices meals is to be completed on a computer connected to the district. As ICNA notes on its Back2School webpage:

  • “This year, just like years before, we are still giving away backpacks and supplies. The smell of a new notebook and the touch of new pencils ensures that students, especially in disadvantaged communities, are seeking out success. Learn more about our programs as well as how you can help below!”

In 2021, ICNA provided 27,562 backpacks at 187 locations nationwide, according to its webpage. The effort involved 1,189 volunteers and 261 partners and sponsors.

ICNA has hosted about 12 Back-2-School events in DeKalb County to benefit underserved children. (Credit: ICNA)
The ICNA Back-2-School event is part of a national effort to help underserved school children. (Credit: ICNA, 2018)
ICNA has donated thousands of bookbags to DeKalb County’s underserved children over the past dozen years. (Credit: ICNA, 2018)