ELYRIA — The message on social media stood out to the mother of three.
A teenage boy wanted to sell his prized video gaming system and use the money to buy his own clothes and shoes for school.
Amanda Mahaffey, mother to 9-year-old, 3-year-old and 16-month-old children, said the request made her wonder why the boy needed to take such measures to get ready to return to school. Mahaffey said she didn’t ask him those questions.
“But I wondered how many other kids are suffering in silence?” she said Wednesday. “I thought, ‘If this kid was suffering, how many other kids are suffering?’”
The teen received donated shoes, pants and socks for school, and then Mahaffey turned her attention to the rest of Elyria.
She has set up a back-to-school giveaway set for 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Eastern Heights Middle School.
There, volunteers will hand out 200 backpacks full of supplies and gently used kids’ clothes. Free haircuts also will be available. The event is geared toward elementary students, but there will be some larger sizes available for older kids.
“I am thinking we will get a nice turnout because there is so much need in the community,” Mahaffey said.
From folders to notebooks to popular character backpacks featuring Shopkins, Jurassic Park, Pokemon and Star Wars, Mahaffey said the day is about adding a little joy to the city and getting kids ready to head back to school, which in Elyria will be Sept. 4, the Tuesday after Labor Day.
“I have always wanted to do something like this, but usually we just donate somewhere and that’s it,” she said. “This year, I decided to grab the bull by the horns.”
Once Mahaffey came up with the idea, friends, family and people in the community stepped up to provide supplies, clothing and backpacks. She will continue to accept donations today; those wishing to donate can call her at (440) 590-2254.
Eastern Heights Principal Kim Benetto offered the school as a location for the giveaway. Michele Sandor will provide haircuts.
This is not the only opportunity Elyria families in need will have to receive free supplies.
From 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, a back-to-school giveaway will take place at Second Baptist Church, 427 Chapman Lane. This is a project of the Lorain County Urban League.
Students can receive supplies and parents can receive information about job opportunities in Elyria and surrounding communities.