Volunteers are making sure students and teachers will have what they need for the start of the school year. The cost of getting necessary school supplies can add up quickly. Today, community members are coming together to help ease that burden for families.
16 million kids arrive on the first day of school without the supplies they need to learn, according to the Kids In Need Foundation. It’s a problem that affects the whole country and students here in Erie are no exception.
Laurie Root, United Way of Erie County, says, “We… are really focusing on crushing poverty and education is the key to breaking that cycle of poverty that we have in our community.”
More than 150 volunteers are gathering in the Berry Global Warehouse with a goal to pack 1,000 backpacks for kids in Erie. United Way is running the event, with materials collected from its school supply drive.
Organizers say the large turn out says a lot about the Erie community and their value in education.
Christopher Holmberg, of Curtze Food Service, says, “When you get this, many people together… Erie is a really strong, vibrant; and I think that’s what it says about it, that we care about each other.”
The volunteers are made up of local businesses and individuals, all lending their time to support students, families, and teachers.
Tina Yacobozzi, Volunteer, says, “I love kids so I love to make kids smile, and I think is gonna do that.”
This is the first year of United Way’s backpack packing event but coordinators say they’re hoping to grow with help from the community.
Holmberg says, “Having school supplies is really important. If you don’t have the right supplies it’s really hard to do everything else that you need to in school.”
While this was the first year for the backpack packing event, it’s the second for United Way’s supply drive.