Manchester, Ky. (WYMT) - It is one of the poorest counties in Appalachia, but businesses and organizations came together to help thousands of Clay County students who are getting ready for another school year.
A section of downtown Manchester was blocked off as free school supplies were handed out to anyone that wanted them.
“It's a dream come true,” said Manchester Walmart Manager Jamie Campbell.
Employees at the Walmart in Clay County had the "dream" of using community funding to help future generations.
“Just ecause of the way the economy is right now and with Clay County being one of the poorest counties in the state we just felt we needed to do something as a company and as a community,” said Campbell.
“Even our employees, they are working class people and they are struggling and we wanted to help them too.”
School officials said it was thanks to conjoined efforts from corporations, churches, family resource centers and sponsors in the community.
“It was just a dream until everybody sort of bought into this and made this happen,” said Clay County Schools Assistant Superintendent Amon Couch.
With the help of other businesses and organizations, they were able to distribute school supplies to nearly 3,000 children who said they were excited to get them.
“They gave me folders, pencils, markers, glue, hand sanitizer, paper,” said soon-to-be sixth grader Aaron Smallwood.
Smallwood’s twin brother Austin said it was “pretty cool” to start off the year with new stuff.
Other students said they could not wait to get back to school for other reasons.
“I can't wait to go back,” said third grader Jillian Gray.
“’Cause I miss all my friends.”
Parents agreed they were happy as well.
“I think it's great that all the families getting to come out, it saves them some money on school supplies cause they are high, but we appreciate it,” said Kindergarten parent Michelle Collins.
Collins’ son Jared was delighted to show off his new folders, paper and snacks.
Organizers said they worked closely with the family resource centers at each of the schools to ensure the kids got all the things they needed to start the school year off right.
“Our goal here if for them to leave here today pretty much ready to go,” said Couch.
“There's not going to be much that they are going to lack after they leave here tonight.”
Students head back to the classrooms on Aug. 8. Organizers said around $15,000 worth of supplies and even the food from vendors was donated.