Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues

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Need help with school clothes?

Volunteer Marva Jordan looks through jeans while helping families select clothing at the School Dressing Days in 2010. Peter Cihelka/The Free Lance-Star

We’re in our first true heat wave and it doesn’t seem like the time to think about jeans and backpacks. But it will be time for back-to-school shopping before you know it (sorry, kids).

If you can’t afford clothes for your students, an annual event can help. School Dressing Days will be held Aug. 10 and 11, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Bragg Hill Family Life Center (400 Bragg Hill Drive). Last year, this event clothed more than 1,600 area children, providing new and used fashions. Dressing Days also provides new underwear and some school supplies.

This year, organizers are asking participants to register ahead of time.

Pre-registration will be held at the Bragg Hill Family Life Center, Saturday, June 30, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children need not attend pre-registration. However, parents or guardians coming to pre-register must bring ID, verifying residence for themselves and children, plus one form of ID for each child (report card, Social Security card, birth certificate or Medicaid card).

Families from Fredericksburg as well as the counties of Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George and Caroline are eligible to participate. Eligible children from preschool through high school may receive school clothing and supplies at no cost. Children must have ID (report card, Social Security card, birth certificate, or Medicaid card) and be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Adults must bring verification of residence (no P.O. boxes).

School Dressing Days is sponsored by the Interfaith Community Council, which includes about  40 area religious groups. For details, call 540/373-2294 or 540/785-2682.

And if you’d like to help the effort, the council is now accepting checks: They may be sent to: Interfaith Community Council Treasurer Clyde Matthews, 1111 Colony Road, Fredericksburg, Va. 22401.

You can donate new clothes, underwear, socks and school supplies Aug. 6-10; organizers can’t take donations earlier because of space limitations. Drop off donations at the Bragg Hill Family Life Center. Donations of gently used children’s clothes appropriate for school, backpacks and shoes will also be accepted.