After a hiatus in 2020, the Three Rivers Area Faith Community (TRAFC) is once again hosting the Back to School Celebration, an event at which school age children accompanied by an adult caregiver receive a free backpack filled with school supplies. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 14 during the Huss Project Farmers Market at 1008 Eighth Street.
TRAFC calls itself “an interdenominational, interracial group of faith leaders collaborating for the well-being of our community.” Throughout the year, the group collects donations of supplies and funds and then fills the backpacks and distributes them at this family-friendly event.
The Huss Project, operated by the non-profit organization *culture is not optional, is also hosting a Community Carnival, a rummage sale, and children’s nature programming to accompany the Back to School Celebration. Both the carnival and the rummage sale were features of Huss Future Festival, an annual event that ran for a number of summers until 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Community Carnival brings organizations in to share information about their services and provide fun games and activities for kids. The children’s nature hour programming takes place every Saturday through August, and the rummage sale runs every Saturday through September during the market hours.
“We’re hoping to bring some of the flavor of Future Fest back to the summer at Huss with these elements, with safety considerations still in place,” said Kirstin Vander Giessen-Reitsma, volunteer staff member with *culture is not optional. “Everyone is invited to come by Huss on the 14th and see what’s happening.”
TRAFC also collaborates to lead the Solidarity in Diversity: Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration in January. The celebration usually consists of a march through downtown Three Rivers, a potluck meal, and a service of celebration and remembrance. In 2020, a standing vigil was held on Main Street in lieu of the event.