About 90 minutes after the end of school April 4, several Holt Crossing Intermediate School students and family members were lined up to re-enter the building.
They were there to attend the school's community resource rally.
The event gave Holt Crossing families access to representatives from more than 20 central Ohio agencies, who were on hand to answer questions and provide information about the services they provide.
More than 400 people attended the second annual event, said Amanda Fox, a sixth-grade teacher at Holt who coordinated the rally.
"The purpose of our event is to connect our families with the different community organizations they may not have regular contact with or even know exist," she said.
In some cases, the agencies are outside the Grove City area and might not be convenient for Holt Crossing families, principal Tyler Winner said.
The agencies participating included the Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, local health organizations, Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks, the Jackson Township Fire and Grove City Police departments and coaches from the South-Western middle schools that Holt Crossing sixth-graders will be attending next school year, Fox said.
"Our teachers hear about or pick up on some of the issues or concerns that their students and students' families are having," she said.
The input from Holt teachers helped determine the agencies that were invited, Fox said.
"We have a large economically disadvantaged population in this building, and we're hoping the rally is a way for those families to find out about the resources that are available to them," she said.
Educators consider their school to be a community, Winner said.
The resource rally "demonstrates our spirit of community at Holt," he said.
Holt is the only South-Western School that offers its families a resource rally, Fox said.
"It's a program we'd like to see expand to other schools, because it's really been a benefit for our families," she said.
This year, a free meal was offered to the first 500 people to attend and families could select free items from the school's clothing closet. The clothing closet provides donated gently used clothes and shoes to Holt families in need.
The event included performances by the Holt Crossing and Central Crossing High School orchestras, the CCHS band featuring Holt Crossing band members and the CCHS and Junior Comets color guards. Families also could enter raffles to win prizes.
Fox took over the role of coordinating the event from former Holt Crossing teacher T.J. Budy, who oversaw the first resource rally in April 2018.
Budy, who now serves is case manager/liaison at Buckeye Ranch School, volunteered at this year's rally.
In the first two years of the resource rally, Budy said he has been heartened by seeing the exchange of resources "is a two-way street."
"I've seen people go up to one of the service organizations, and they're not looking for assistance from them," he said.
"They're asking them how they can help their organization by volunteering their time or making a contribution."