There are several sites on the web, that describe programs that provide backpacks full of school supplies to needy children, and backpacks full of toiletries and other necessities for wounded military personnel and for victims of disasters.
A sixteen year old girl, with the help of her Mom and some friends, bought 200 backpacks and filled them with toiletries and other necessities for the victims of Huuricane Katrina. They did this with their own funds except for a wonderful donor who provided the money for shipping the backpacks to the affected area.
There are several church groups all over the country, that have programs which provide backpacks stuffed with all sorts of school supplies, such as notebooks, pens, pencils, paper, crayons, markers, glue and whatever other school supplies they can think of to include. Some scout and youth groups are picking up on and joining this effort.
One program run by couple in California, supplies the children of migrant workers with backpacks and school supplies. They run the program form their garage. They also help poor migrant workers with things like food, clothing, housing and job assistance. A 10 year-old boy in Boca Raton Florida, dreamed up a way to help children in his area.
He began to fill backpacks with school supplies for kids who needed them. By the time he was 11, he had a real organization, and had qualified as a charity under IRS rules. The group donates backpacks loaded with notebooks, paper, pencils, glue and other essentials, to schools and charities, all over the state of Florida, that ask for them.
The young man says that if they tell him kids need the packs, “that’s good enough for me.” The word about this group spread quickly among corporations and non-profit organizations. Corporate foundations, local companies, his Dad’s clients and family and friends all donated cash and supplies. By the time this kid was sixteen he had managed to distribute over 8,000 loaded backpacks.
One of the nations leading office supply companies donated most of the backpacks they have donated about $257,000 in cash and supplies. The young man had enlisted 20 of his friends to help fill the packs, and to personalize them,, and by writing the names of recipients on the luggage tags attached to each pack. The boy’s mom dad, and half-brother all help, and are officers in the organization, however he writes all his own appeal letters.
The last we knew he was worried about finding a successor, since he was heading off to college. He was worrying that the organization would have to shutdown. This would be a great loss, not only to the kids in need, but also to the rest of us, who no matter what our age, can learn from his example. In cities and towns all over the U.S. churches, civic groups, and individuals have been donating backpack with school stuff to kids and packs with toiletries and other items to adults in areas affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. They have no idea what a sign of hope these things are to us.