MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — Throughout the month of August, the Middle Township Council on the Arts, in collaboration with COHO Brewing Company, hosted its annual Back-to-School Drive.

Primarily promoted on social media, residents and local businesses were again asked to donate bookbags and school supplies for area students.

While the drive has been a part of the community over the past five years, this is the first time the newly established COHO Brewing Co. has been involved. The site was the primary drop-off location for donations this year. At its conclusion, more than 500 bookbags were collected — 100 of them donated by one of the county’s local Verizon Wireless stores.

“After working in the school system, I saw the need for supplies firsthand,” said Karen Buckingham, Arts Council president, owner of COHO Brewing Co., and former teacher. “Every child deserves to feel good about themselves and deserves a fresh start. We’re thankful the community embraced this cause and helped it grow each year.”

Teachers were notified and able to distribute the items to the students who needed them. The donations were on a first-come/first-served basis and were given to students in several area schools along with church groups.

“We want to thank our Arts Council, the local business community and all who donated for making this drive such a huge success this year,” said Mayor Tim Donohue. “Kudos to our Arts Council and council Chair Karen Buckingham, for once again stepping up to ensure that needy Middle Township students can start the school year off on the right foot. Our many active volunteer boards do a wide variety of great work. They are a big part of what makes Middle Township such a great community.”

COHO’s Facebook page received an overwhelming response from teachers and parents of students who received the donations expressing their gratitude. In response, they posted “We are overwhelmed with the response that we received from this post. We are grateful that these bags will get to those students who are in need of them. Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen, ... all of you that made this possible. A special thank you to Verizon Wireless for your contribution. It takes a village.”

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