As August begins, the end of summer nears and with it the first week of school. For many students, this is just about the least exciting time of the year. However, in East Chicago, Ind., it doesn’t have to be. Every August, Holy Trinity Croatian Church in East Chicago puts a lively spin on the start of the school year with its Back to School Fun Fair.


The annual fun fair is being held this weekend on Saturday, Aug. 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the parish grounds. The event provides fun activities for children, informational booths for parents and free backpacks filled with school supplies that make everyone happy.


“As a mother of seven children, this event has lifted some of the burden of buying all of their school supplies,” said community member and regular fun fair attendee Jennifer Campos. “Also, the kids have a good time and they look forward to this event every year.”


The church has held this back to school event at the start of August since 2006 and the amount of families serviced has grown each year. In its first year, the event benefitted 125 East Chicago students. Last year, over 350 filled backpacks were distributed.


“As a 31 year veteran teacher in East Chicago, I see so many of my students and their families receiving supplies and services that they would not otherwise have to begin their school year in a positive way,” said event volunteer Christine Kolavo.


With the number of needy students in attendance at the fair increasing, the church has enlisted the help of organizational partners like Foundations of East Chicago, United Steelworkers Local 1010, Franciscan St. Margaret Hospital and many more. These program partners have provided everything from volunteers to help run the event to monetary grants.


The back to school fair has made such an impact on the community that many volunteers come back year after year to support the cause.


“This will be my eighth year chairing the Back to School Fun Fair,” said event chair and lifelong East Chicago resident Myriam Pineda. “It gives me so much pleasure giving back to the community I grew up in.”


All residents of East Chicago and the surrounding area are welcome to come out to Holy Trinity Croatian Church to enjoy the fair. For more information on attending or donating to the event, call (219) 398-3061.