(Coushatta, LA) – Due to COVID-19 safety measures, United Way of Northwest Louisiana’s (UWNWLA) Red River Parish Public Schools Back to School Bash took a socially distanced approach again this year. The 2021 event was funded almost entirely by Red River Parish Public Schools’ faculty and staff from their contributions of more than $8,000 to the annual United Way fundraising campaign. Bank of Coushatta, Elizabeth Full Gospel Baptist Church, Louisiana Health Care Connection, and Vine Energy provided additional support for the Bash, totaling $7,100 in funds and supplies. The collective community partnerships resulted in more than 15,000 individual school supplies divided among Red River Parish Public School campuses based on current enrollment numbers of K-12 students.

The Back to School Bash is the only event in Red River Parish to distribute free school supplies to all children attending public schools in the area. According to the latest ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed) Report, ALICE households have decreased from 49 percent of Red River Parish residents. Despite this outcome, 35 percent of Red River Parish families are still struggling to afford basic needs. The annual Back to School Bash is one of the solutions UWNWLA provides to continue the fight for positive educational outcomes in the region.

“United Way has a commitment to education,” said LaToria Thomas, UWNWLA Vice President of Community Investments & Operations. “We want to see children be successful in school, and one way we do that is through our partnership with Red River Schools for the Back to School Bash. Because of this partnership, we were able to distribute more than $11,000 worth of school supplies. We could not have done it without the support of the people in Red River Parish.”

All funds raised by Red River Public Schools’ faculty and staff for the annual United Way fundraising campaign go to support the Back the School Bash. The department with the highest participation rate in the 2020-2021 campaign was the Red River Parish Academic Academy (RRAA). UWNWLA presented these esteemed educators with the first-ever United for Excellence Award. This award will continue to be given to the department with the highest participation rate each year to honor their team’s commitment to students’ success in Red River Parish.

“When I was notified of this award that my staff had earned, I was not surprised,” said Jacqueline Daniels, Red River Academic Academy Principal. “RRAA is a caring, giving, loving family. This is who we are and what we do because here at RRAA, we excel every day.”

The support of Red River Parish Schools contributes to the success of the students and the community at large. A child and family resource guide will be provided to all on-campus, including students and their families, in lieu of UWNWLA’s traditional in-person community resource fair. This guide covers topics such as child body safety, family/child counseling, and more.

To view the child and family resource guide, please visit https://unitedwaynwla.org/assets/uploads/2021/08/RRP-Resources-for-Families-2021.pdf.