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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Deadline Today: Backpacks & Breakfast back-to-school event celebrates 20 years

Backpacks & Breakfast event will use a lottery system this year instead of hosting it's large event.
(Img: FTM File, 2019)

The largest school readiness event in Northern Kentucky will mark its 20th anniversary in August with a format unlike any of the 19 that have preceded it.

Northern Kentucky Harvest’s Backpacks & Breakfast has 912 new backpacks filled with grade-appropriate school supplies to give away to students from low-income families in Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties.

But unlike other years when crowds of 500-600 gathered in Covington’s Goebel Park to get backpack on a first-come, first-served basis, this year the backpacks will be given away through a lottery. 

Restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 forbid large gatherings, so Harvest leaders decided on the free lottery, open to any student in the three counties. Harvest has been busy spreading word about the lottery through public schools and social service agencies that work with low-income households.

“We’re emphasizing that people need to sign up for backpacks this year before the give-away weekend,” said Paul Gottbrath, Harvest’s board president. “That’s the biggest change.”

The deadline for registering for the lottery, which is open to students in kindergarten through the 12th grade, is July 30. Recipients will be determined in a random drawing on July 31 and notified of a time on either Aug. 8th or 9th when they can pick up their backpacks. The backpacks will be distributed at Be Concerned, 1100 Pike St., Covington.

Be Concerned, along with Brighton Center a partner in the event the past two decades, will use a “car-hop” model to distribute the backpacks. Motorists will stay in their cars while volunteers take their information and give it to runners who will fill the backpack order.

Backpacks & Breakfast started in 2001, when 150 students were helped. Over the years it has grown steadily and for the last decade has been the largest school readiness effort in Northern Kentucky. In the 19 previous Backpacks & Breakfast events, Frisch’s provided a free breakfast to all who attended the event. Since there will be no gathering in the park this year, the company will provide coupons good for a free kid’s meal in each backpack distributed.

Padrino Ft. Thomas | 14 N. Grand | (859) 957-4082 | website

Major sponsors of the 2020 Backpacks & Breakfast are the Butler Foundation and the R.C. Durr Foundation. Also providing financial support are the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Western & Southern Financial Fund, St. Pius X Church, the Sofagives Charitable Fund, the T.J. Johnson State Farm Insurance Agency, and the Women of the Covington Moose Lodge.

In addition to Frisch’s, in-kind support is coming from St. Joseph Catholic Church, Cold Spring; St. Timothy Church, Union; and Immanuel United Methodist Church, Lakeside Park.

To register for the 2020 Backpacks & Breakfast lottery; Email the following information to;

- parent/guardians’ name
- address
- email
- phone number
- student’s name
- school
- grade level

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