PHOTO STORY: Brandywine students given backpacks at nonprofit event

NILES — Cars snaked through the Brandywine Middle and High School, 1700 Bell Road, Thursday evening.

At 5 p.m., the beginning of a two-hour event, cars were directed into the parking lot and formed a drive-thru line that had several curves, forming a snake. Even with the snake formation, the line reached the length of the parking lot multiple times.

When the attendees reached the school’s sidewalk, they could pick up boxes of food from the Feeding America food truck, pick a backpack full of school supplies for a student returning to classes in the fall, and everyone was given the opportunity to fill out the 2020 Census.

The event was the third and final Backpacks for Good event put on by the Berrien Community Foundation, with the Frederick S. Upton Foundation and the DeGroot Family Foundation. The two former events were hosted at Niles High School and at Coloma High School. Student volunteers from Niles High School helped pack the backpacks with supplies. Teachers and counselors were the volunteers on hand at Brandywine Middle and High School event.

Parents and guardians drove through the offerings. Once they reached the front of the line, the students in the car only needed to tell the volunteers which school they went to, what grade they were in, and what color of backpack they wanted for the year.

By the third event, Lisa Cripps-Downey, president of the Berrien Community Foundation, said the foundation had upped its volunteer count.

At the Niles Community Schools event, hosted at its high school, the Feeding America truck ran out of food before the backpacks filled with supplies.

“It’s tricky, because we do have to watch our numbers,” she said. “We are learning as we go, but what we are learning is that there is a need.”

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