The local 2020 “Fill the Backpacks” initiative will provide 75 bags filled with school supplies for community members needing a little extra help this year.
“Fill the Backpacks” is a fundraiser ran and organized by local Steven Armstrong. This is the fourth year the fundraiser has been held.
The original goal was to provide backpacks for 50 kids, so Armstrong started the fundraiser off by donating the 50 backpacks himself.
In comparison, last year’s “Fill the Backpacks” resulted in 65 bags being stuffed and donated to local families.
According to Armstrong, something happened during last year’s fundraiser that really “hit home” for him.
“This adorable little girl came into my office to pick up her backpack full of new school supplies. She was going to be a first grader. I showed her the backpacks that she could choose from, and she instantly ran up to the one that she liked and hugged it,” explained Armstrong. “She then ran to me and jumped into my lap and gave me the biggest hug. She had tears in her eyes and said to me, ‘now the other kids won’t make fun of me for bringing my stuff to school in a Walmart bag.’ I will never forget that.”
The backpacks are mostly for kindergarten through third grade although there are a couple for fourth and fifth grade.
Items that were accepted for donation to stuff the backpacks included pencils, crayons, erasers, cleaning wipes, dry erase markers, highlighters, notebooks, glue sticks, boxes of tissues, hand sanitizer and masks. Other items were accepted if they would be needed by kids in kindergarten through third grade.
Cash donations were also accepted to purchase supplies that were still needed along with extra backpacks.
For each item that was donated, the person who donated had a raffle ticket entered into a drawing for a $50 Rusty Keg gift card.
The bags are first-come, first-serve. Families who need a little extra help can contact Armstrong to request a bag by messaging him through Facebook or by calling/messaging him at a decent hour (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
The Facebook event page is “Fill the Backpacks 2020” and his phone number is 740-406-0573.
“I just want to thank all of the great people of Fayette County for once again being so generous to help out their fellow citizens,” explained Armstrong. “Our community never disappoints me.”
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.