ALTON — It’s five o’clock somewhere, but a group of Jimmy Buffett fans is trading in its boat drinks for ballpoint pens — and other school supplies — to benefit local families.
The Parrot Heads of the Riverbend, a philanthropic club named after fanatics of the laid-back singer, is having its first-ever Parrot Pack School Supply giveaway next month. The group teamed with Altonized Federal Credit Union and solicited donations from local businesses in hopes of helping ease the burden on needy families ahead of the approaching school year.
“We try to do a lot for the community,” Parrot Heads of the Riverbend co-founder Kevin Hilligoss said. “One of our focuses is on the kids. We really haven’t done an event for them this year, so we thought doing this for anybody that may need it might help out families in need.”
The event will be 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. — or until the 200 backpacks are gone — Saturday, Aug. 6, at the credit union, 4435 N. Alby St. Families will be able to come by to pick up a free backpack filled with binders, spiral notebooks, pens, pencils and other supplies.
“Unfortunately, no computers,” Hilligoss joked.
Giveaways will be limited to one per child. There will also be cotton candy for the kids.
Hilligoss said the group, which promotes the motto “party with a purpose,” last year approached Altonized Federal Credit Union President Jennifer Spangler about doing something. This year, they were able to make it a reality with the help of the credit union.
“I kind of gave them the idea last year that I’d like to do something in conjunction with them, because they do events for kids also, and I presented her with the idea of the backpack giveaway,” Hilligoss said. “She was very receptive to doing that, so with her blessing we’re going to co-partner with them.”
Spangler said the opportunity to help area children was one in which the credit union was happy to get involved.
“It was important for us because school is such an important thing for kids, and having them prepared for school is even more important,” Spangler said. “That way, they can focus all their time and energy on their school work versus not having everything that they need.”
Hilligoss said Patty and Kyle Dooley of Bright Tomorrows Learning Center in Godfrey also were instrumental in helping with this year’s event.
The group will continue to collect donations leading up to the event, Hilligoss said. A supply donation box has been set up in the lobby of Altonized Federal Credit Union for anyone who would like to donate or the group can arrange for pickup. Hilligoss said they are accepting donations from any and all donors.
Members of the Parrot Heads of the Riverbend will fill backpacks with supplies the day of the giveaway. To date, the group has raised more than $75,000 for local charities and organizations, along with donating hundreds of volunteer hours toward community enhancement efforts.
The club’s next event planned is a Parrot Heads of the Riverbend Crazy Bowl scheduled for Aug. 20, with proceeds going to the Bethalto Boys and Girls Club. For information, visit photrb.com.