WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Parents, we know getting school supplies each year is stressful, but do you remember the excitement as a kid opening a new pack of crayons? Or picking out a folder with your favorite character on it?

The fun of brand new school supplies was a little bit easier this year. Youth Services System made it so parents could just drive up, and drive off with a bag full of goodies. 

Everything a kid could need to get a jump start on the school year was in 2,000 backpacks given out to families at the drive-thru Celebrate Youth Festival on Thursday. 

At YSS our mission is to create better futures for children, families and our community, so it’s vital that we continue passing out school supplies to help alleviate some of that stress.

Terra Crews, Director of Development, Youth Services System

While it’s not the traditional festival that the area has come to enjoy for many years, when COVID forced YSS to change their plans, they adapted. 

After being held at a different location last year, the drive-thru returned to Wheeling Park outside of the White Palace.

Even just working in the shelters and community I see a lot of our kids are in need and this kind of helps the families a little bit with some of the costs that everyone incurs with starting the school year.

Patty Morgan, Life Skills Specialist, YSS

YSS pulled the school supply list from Ohio and Marshall Counties to make sure what was in the bags was something children need when they head back to class. They also had a coloring book specially created to pass out.

All of these bags were still able to put a smile on kids faces, drive-thru style.

 When I was a kid I always had to have like oh these colored pencils and this stuff, so it’s probably super exciting for these kids to get the school supplies and help them.

Zoe Morgan, School Based Mental Health Coordinator, YSS

YSS makes sure kids can still have some fun. With the help of several sponsors and Wheeling Park, they’re also able to give kids buy one get one coupons for activity passes. 

This way instead of enjoying the park during the festival like in previous years, they can do so with their families. 

We’re still able to provide that day, but it’s at their discretion. It allows them to do that on their time and it creates a way to keep it a little safer.

Terra Crews, Director of Development, Youth Services System

YSS and all the volunteers hope next year, the Celebrate Youth Festival will be a celebration once again. 

We are looking forward to collaborating with even more community members and businesses that want to come together for the children, community and their families. Without them we wouldn’t be able to do what we’ve done last year or this year. 

Terra Crews, Director of Development, Youth Services System

Each backpack also contained a printed QR code, that when scanned would lead to resources on the YSS website that help children and families. If you’d like to be connected to some of those resources yourself, just visit youthservicessystem.org.

YSS would like to thank their sponsors; The Health Plan, Marshall County Commission, Encova, Wheeling Park, AEP, Northwood Health Systems and Aetna for their help in putting together the drive-thru Celebrate Youth Festival.