Back to School Shuffle sees tremendous turnout

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Abhiran Polanki takes a plastic firefighter helmet from Firefighter/Paramedic Michael Conley during the Back to School Shuffle, held on Wednesday, Aug. 18. The event—organized by the Downtown Associates of North Attleborough—saw more than 180 children head to businesses and tables set up by town organizations to collect pencils, crayons, bookmarks, and Other items for the start of school. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

North Attleborough’s students have everything they need for the classroom, thanks to the annual Back to School Shuffle.

Canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Shuffle—organized by the Downtown Associates of North Attleborough—came back in a big way, with 182 children signed up. In past years approximately 130 signed up for the Shuffle.

After getting their tickets, families went to different businesses on S. Washington and N. Washington streets, where they received crayons, pencils and pens, bookmarks, and other school supplies. Several organizations— including the North Attleborough Fire Department—set up tables outside Grace Episcopal Church where the children gathered eagerly.

Jude Lanzilla said she was excited about heading back to school, showing off the stickers and pencils she had collected. Her mother, Adrienne DiMarco, said the family had just moved to North Attleborough and loved the event.

I think this is amazing,” said DiMarco.

DANA President Maureen Merigold said that the decision to hold the Shuffle was made a month ago. With the limited planning time, she said the group opted for a simpler approach. This included fewer tables, but this didn’t bring down the excitement of families as they walked through the downtown area. Merigold recalls seeing children excitedly showing the different supplies they gathered.

We’re all just rolling out of COVID and the kids need something,” she said.

Overall the event raised $402, which will go towards future events, including a Royal Tea Party in September, the Halloween on the Common in October, and the Santa Parade on Thanksgiving weekend. Merigold said the combination of different modes of promoting the event paired with a desire for people to get out and see one another led to the event’s success.

Parents were looking for something to do with their kids,” said Merigold. “People needed to get out and mix and mingle.”