Hundreds stood in line for free food, haircuts, backpacks and horseback rides during an annual neighborhood block party put on by Lacey churches for the fifth consecutive year.
The 80 volunteers Saturday were working under the same mission: to serve Thurston County.
“We know there are students in our community who need supplies for school, but it’s also about getting the community together and to connect,” said Pastor Matthew Klaus of Olympia-Lacey Church of God. He and his congregation worked alongside volunteers from City Life Church of Lacey.
The churches set aside parts of their budgets and take donations from the community to put on the event each year. Between 2,000 and 2,500 people attend the day’s events between 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
The line for one of 779 free backpacks filled with school supplies started at 8 a.m. and wrapped around the parking lot at the corner of Ruddell Road and Lacey Boulevard.
That’s twice as many backpacks as they had last year, mainly due to more than 300 donated by the Little Red Schoolhouse school supply drive.
The line was equally long for haircuts at the hands of six volunteer stylists from the Olympia Barber School.
“We preach patience for the lines,” Klaus said.
Amber and Lucas Salazar had just finished spending the morning in line for both the packs and haircuts with their sons, 6-year-old Kaiden and 3-year-old Paxton.
The family came by accident the year before last, and now that Kaiden is old enough for school, the parents decided to take advantage of the opportunity.
“They are having fun with the soap,” Lucas Salazar said, watching his boy make bubbles at one of the stations. “It’s nice to let them run around.”
Vasiliy Stupin and his wife, Irina Stupina, brought their three daughters.
The girls were immediately drawn to the free horse rides.
“It’s really cool they are doing this for the community,” Stupin said. “Reaching out and bringing people together is awesome.”