For most children, the first day of school is an exciting time complete with new clothes and back-to-school gear. But for kids in families where money is tight, the experience can be just the opposite.
To make a difference to deserving children like these at the start of the new school year, the Office Depot Foundation will donate 3,000 colorful new sackpacks containing essential school supplies to nonprofit organizations, schools and agencies in the Charlotte area. The Foundation will make the donations during a special Back-to-School Celebration beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 17 (8/17) at Classroom Central, which is located at 2116 Wilkinson Blvd. in Charlotte.
Classroom Central has been a partner in the Office Depot Foundation National Backpack Program for the past several years through its affiliation with the Kids In Need Foundation. Fort Mill, S.C.-based Domtar Corporation, a generous supporter of both Classroom Central and the Office Depot Foundation, will be a special guest for the event.
The Foundation is celebrating the 17th year of its award-winning National Backpack Program in 2017 by donating approximately 100,000 colorful new sackpacks to nonprofit organizations, schools and agencies across the United States and internationally.
By the end of this year, Office Depot and the Office Depot Foundation will have given away more than 4 million backpacks and sackpacks since the National Backpack Program began in 2001. During the past eight years, some 29,000 Charlotte-area kids have received tools they need to succeed in school through this program
“It is our mission to make sure that every child has the right tools to achieve success in school,” said Mary Wong, president of the Office Depot Foundation. “School is challenging enough on its own, and when you’re unable to come prepared with the basic essentials for learning, it’s nearly impossible. We want to give every kid a fair chance.”
The nonprofit organizations, schools and agencies scheduled to receive sackpacks on August 17 include:
- A Child’s Place
- City of Charlotte Department of Neighborhood & Business Services
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Activities League
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
- Classroom Central
- Trips for Kids
- YMCA of Greater Charlotte
Special guests expected to participate include:
- Congresswoman Alma S. Adams
- Phanalphie Rhue, District Director for NC 12
- Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles, City of Charlotte
- Councilwoman LaWana Mayfield, District 3, City of Charlotte
- Councilman Greg Phipps, District 4, City of Charlotte
- Councilwoman Dimple Ajmera, District 5, City of Charlotte
- Commission Chair Ella B. Scarborough, At-Large, Mecklenburg County
- Carrie Cook, VP Talent Development, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce
The specially designed, drawstring-style sackpacks come in seven bright and fun colors. Each one includes a zippered pouch containing a pen, pencil, pencil sharpener, eraser, six-inch ruler and four crayons. The sackpacks do not have any Office Depot Foundation or Office Depot logos or markings.
To deliver sackpacks directly to children, the Foundation is hosting Back-to-School Celebrations in 13 cities across the U.S. in July and August. Thousands more sackpacks are being given to kids through the Office Depot Foundation’s continuing partnerships with a number of nonprofit organizations serving children nationally and globally, including the AARP Foundation, the National CASA Association, Feed the Children, Food For The Poor, the Kids In Need Foundation, the National Foundation for Women Legislators and Operation Homefront.
This year, in addition to donating sackpacks to children who need them most, the Foundation is highlighting the importance of STEM and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) programs in our nation’s schools. To encourage kids to explore these important curriculums, the Foundation has partnered with Captain Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, America’s first African American female combat pilot, who will make special guest appearances at the Foundation’s Back-To-School celebrations in Los Angeles and Chicago.
More information about the National Backpack Program can be found on the Office Depot Foundation’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/officedepotfoundation. To learn more about the Office Depot Foundation and its initiatives, go to www.officedepotfoundation.org/. You can follow the Foundation on Twitter @OfficeDepotFndn; the National Backpack Program’s hashtag is #ODFcares. The Foundation is also on Instagram: @officedepotfoundation.
About the Office Depot Foundation
The Office Depot Foundation is an independent foundation − tax exempt under IRC Sec. 501(c)(3). In keeping with its mission, Listen Learn Care®, the Foundation supports a variety of programs that give children tools to succeed in school and in life; build the capacity of nonprofit organizations through collaboration and innovation; and help communities prepare for disasters, as well as recovering and rebuilding afterwards. For more information, visit www.officedepotfoundation.org.