HopeFest in Elgin to provide free backpacks, haircuts and festival fun
Pastor Abi Raices of New Life Covenant Church in Elgin is a big believer in hope.
"Anybody can find themselves in a moment of need, and we want to provide hope for everyone that comes through our doors," Raices said.
HopeFest, which will be held July 31 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is designed to deliver that hope for local families.
The main attraction of the annual event is a backpack and school supply giveaway for every child who attends.
"If there are 10 kids in the family and they all come with them, they'll get 10 backpacks," he said. "The kids just need to be there."
Raices said they have about 300 backpacks ready and are planning to get 300 more before the event, which drew about 700 people in 2019.
"If we run out of backpacks, then I'll take names on a list and buy more," Raices said. "I want to make sure every kid who comes through that door gets a backpack."
The event will also feature a tent with about 25 local organizations and nonprofits set up to help connect people with resources they might need, he said. Barbers will also be on hand to provide free haircuts.
And while kids might not be ready to face the fact that school is just around the corner, they'll probably enjoy a petting zoo, inflatable attractions and carnival prize games, he said.
"We want a day where people can have fun and also get some resources, and that's at the heart of HopeFest," Raices said.