CAIRO — The beginning of the 2020-21 school year in Grady County may have been pushed back to September, but Grady County Family Connection’s annual Back to School Blitz took place Saturday as scheduled.

Family Connection executive director Nola Daughtry said Thursday evening’s announcement that students will not be asked to return to class until September 8 came too late for the annual giveaway, which has thousands of essential school supplies handed out to families free of charge, to be canceled.

“We felt like we should go ahead with this event and hand out supplies so parents can start getting ready for school in case any changes do occur in which they can come back earlier,” Daughtry said.

The annual event, typically held within the Cairo High School gymnasium, took on an unusual format this year as organizers adapted to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Participants were asked to remain in their vehicles as volunteers placed supplies including pencils, notebooks, pens, paper and erasers in the trunks of their cars. Volunteers present at the event wore masks and abided by social distancing guidelines.

Among the two dozen volunteers present Saturday, not including school officials, was Roddenbery Memorial Library children’s coordinator Patsy Pallone, who said she believed the event was a success.

“It started off really strong and then we got kind of a steady flow going,” Pallone said.

Despite the last-minute hurdles, Daughtry said she thought the event went smoothly.

“It went very quick with the crowd that we had lined up early this morning,” she said. “They were here by 7 o’clock lined up and going around the track. We had a system that worked real well.”

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