School supplies giveaway happening in Okeechobee

OKEECHOBEE — On July 21 between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., Okeechobee’s Wireless Zone, located at 2105 S. Parrot Ave, is inviting Okeechobee families and their children to visit and pick up a backpack filled with various school supplies.

The goal of the giveaway is to help parents and alleviate the rising costs of school supplies. Okeechobee’s Wireless Zone owner Jeffery Zarrella said the giveaway is completely free and those receiving the backpacks have no obligation to buy anything at his store.

“We specifically set up outside so that they don’t feel pressure and don’t have to come into the store,” said Mr. Zarrella. “We don’t allow any advertisements on any of the products or in any of the backpacks. This is not about sales, it’s about doing something for the community.”

The giveaway is for school-aged children only and a child must be present with the parent during the pickup. Backpacks will come in pink camo, camo, black, gray, teal and pink.

In 2018, the National Retail Federation estimated that the average parent will spend $112 dollars on school supplies, and an average total of $685 on clothing, electronics, accessories and supplies.

Mr. Zarrella is hoping the giveaway can help relieve some of that financial burden.

“I’ve seen the stress that comes with the start of school firsthand,” continued Mr. Zarrella. “I’ve lived in Okeechobee for most of my life, and this is an easy way to help the community. We’ve already seen the impact a small thing like this can have. During the first year, I saw the excitement on the kid’s faces as they picked out what color backpack they wanted and the relief on the parent’s faces. There’s no better satisfaction than helping people.”

Each backpack will include one spiral notebook, one glue stick, 12 pencils, one ruler, one two-pocket folder and one pencil box. Mr. Zarrella said the company has ordered 250 backpacks for the giveaway.

The giveaway will run until 4 p.m. or until supplies are exhausted.

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at rmarion@newszap.com.

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