The Chautauqua Center Announces 9th Annual Backpack Distribution and Community Event to Celebrate National Health Center Week


For the ninth consecutive year, The Chautauqua Center (TCC) and supporting organization The Waterfront Foundation are spearheading the area’s largest backpack and school supply giveaway to benefit local students. This week, volunteers convened to assemble nearly 2,000 backpacks that were filled with school supplies for TCC’s Community Picnic Events taking place next month as well as for every school district in the county. Volunteers came from Kiwanis Club of Jamestown, the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Board of Realtors, Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services, and the AM Rotary Club of Greater Jamestown. The program is made possible through donations from Fredonia Walmart, Lakewood Walmart, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of WNY, and the AM Rotary Club of Greater Jamestown.

TCC staff are preparing for the organization’s largest annual events, formerly known as Family Fun Days, after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic. The largely popular events have been rebranded this year with an emphasis on healthy eating and active lifestyles – TCC Community Picnics will be held on Monday, August 8th, in Dunkirk at the Salvation Army located at 704 Central Avenue, from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM. In Jamestown, the event will take place the following day on Tuesday, August 9th, at Jackson-Taylor Park on Washington St., from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM.

The free family events are presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of WNY. The events will feature Chautauqua County’s largest backpack and school supply giveaway as well as healthy food, music, bounce houses, children’s games including sack races, water balloon toss, prizes, and face painting. New this year is the addition of the Jamestown Public Market’s Mobile Market that will offer free produce to attendees as well as food demos by Cornell Cooperative Extension, recipes, and information on SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks promotions that make eating fresh foods more affordable. TCC will also provide free health screenings and education, and onsite clinical providers including pediatricians and nutritionists who can help answer questions for parents about healthy eating and preventative care.

To receive a backpack, students must have a family member or caregiver over the age of 18 present. A variety of supplies will be available to choose from based on age group. Everyone of any age is welcome to attend this free community event and take advantage of the education and giveaways available to all.

Local vendors are also in attendance to provide youth and parents with information and resources from approximately 40 community organizations, including education programs, health, advocacy and social services.

National Health Center Week is an annual celebration to raise awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers. TCC is a community health center established in 2012 with locations in Dunkirk and Jamestown that provides affordable health and support services to over 12,000 people throughout the Chautauqua region. The center facilitates events and giveaways that benefit the whole community, not just their patients. Staff work with community members and local school districts to ensure that children have access to health care and ancillary services (i.e. counseling, dental care, etc.). In addition, TCC works directly with many collaborative partners to address social determinants of health such as housing, insurance enrollment, and food access.