An independent news publication of
United Way of Lancaster County


Annual Back to School Event is Aug. 18; volunteers sought

McCaskey High School students hand out shirts at the 12th Annual Back-to-School Event at Clipper Magazine Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023. 2023. (Photo: Kyle Gamble)

Last year’s Back-to-School Event was the biggest to date, drawing more than 2,000 students to Clipper Magazine Stadium, but organizers say the 2024 edition will be bigger yet.

The 13th annual Back-to-School Event will kick off at the stadium at 12 noon Sunday, Aug. 18. Festivities will continue until 4 p.m., followed by free admission to the Lancaster Stormers baseball game against the Staten Island FerryHawks at 5 p.m.

During the Back-to-School Event, children receive free school supplies for the upcoming year. They can also receive a free haircut, and their families can learn about available social services. Over the years, the event has grown into a community festival, with music, food, games and other activities.

Children get haircuts in at the 2023 Back to School Event. (Photo: Kyle Gamble)

This year, state Rep. Ismail Smith-Wade-El is joining the event’s originator, state Rep. Mike Sturla, to cohost.

Participation is open to children who will be entering kindergarten through 8th grade in 2024-25 and who live in one of the following four school districts:

  • Hempfield School District
  • Manheim Township School District
  • Penn Manor School District
  • School District of Lancaster

Registration is required. To register, click here. The deadline is 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12.

The school districts are those covered by the two legislators’ House districts. Prior to redistricting in 2022, Lancaster city sat fully within a single legislative district, which Sturla had represented since 1991. Today, Smith-Wade-El represents Lancaster’s south side and Sturla represents the north, with both districts extending beyond the city into neighboring municipalities.

Volunteers needed

United Way of Lancaster County is helping with volunteer recruitment for the Back to School Event. Dozens of volunteers are needed before, during and after Aug. 18: To sort and pack items ahead of time; to assist with logistics and distribution on the day itself; and to return any unused supplies to storage afterward.

To see available volunteer slots and sign up, click here. Sorting and packing takes place at Park City Center and requires the ability to lift moderately heavy items.

Questions about volunteering may be directed to Francis Miliano, Rep. Sturla’s district office director; or Joel Janisewski, director of volunteerism and community listening at United Way of Lancaster County.