The back to school backpack program gives kids access to free backpacks filled with school supplies. Daily Star file photo

Archived Story

Students to get free backpacks, supplies

Published 4:55pm Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hundreds of area students will receive a free backpack filled with essential school supplies this year thanks to back to school backpack programs held in Niles and Buchanan.

In Niles, the Salvation Army, 424 N. 15th St., is taking donations and registering children grades 1-12 for the program.

Backpacks are packed with age-appropriate materials, such as notebook paper, pens, pencils, crayons, glue, folders and spiral notebooks.

Jan Nowak, of the Niles Salvation Army, said anyone grades 1-12 could sign up to receive a backpack.

“We don’t do a screening process on them,” she said. “We leave it up to the parent and their judgment and their heart — if this can be a blessing to them then come on ahead.”

Individuals can register for a backpack on a walk-in basis from July 23 to Aug. 3 at the Niles Salvation Army. Nowak said parents should bring identification for the custodial parent or guardian, Social Security cards for each child and proof of which school the child will be attending this fall.

Nowak said the program depends on community donations, which will be taken through Aug. 23 at the Niles Salvation Army.

“Just a wee bit of contribution from a lot of people makes a tremendous difference… we are looking for the community to help us make it happen again for the kids,” she said.

Nowak said the program served about 145 students in Niles and Brandywine school districts two years ago and about 190 students last year. Backpacks will be dispersed this year on Aug. 23, and, if necessary, Aug. 24.

In Buchanan, residents are encouraged to donate items and register for backpacks at Faith Victory Fellowship Church, 13369 Main St., Buchanan. Faith Victory acts as coordinator for the program, which is sponsored by the Buchanan Area Ministerial Association.

Jann Mitchell, wife of Pastor Dave Mitchell at Faith Victory, said the programs aids around 200 Buchanan students a year.

“The need seems to be increasing year by year, so we encourage everyone to help out by donating,” Jan Mitchell said.

Faith Victory is registering children grades preschool through 12.

Mitchell said BAMA would hand out backpacks during a special event in the Buchanan Commons during the afternoon Aug. 26.

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