The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

August 4, 2013


Operation Backpack, other programs make sure kids have back-to-school supplies

— School starts Aug. 15 in Raleigh and Summers counties and Aug. 22 in Fayette and Wyoming counties.

Unfortunately for some children, they’re ill-prepared for the first day of school through no fault of their own, because of financial situations at home.

But for the better part of two decades, Operation Backpack has helped remedy this dilemma.

In 2012 alone, Operation Backpack provided backpacks and school supplies to more than 700 children in Raleigh, Summers, Fayette and Wyoming counties.

That’s not only heart-warming, but a true testament to the spirit of southern West Virginia.

Our people step up when someone has a need.

We encourage our readers to help out in this worthy cause by purchasing and donating new backpacks and school supplies.

Drop box locations are spread out generously across the area, including Beckley Newspapers; Walgreens in Beckley and Beaver; Mid-State Auto; Stagecoach Salon in Sophia; Access Health Pharmacy; Beckley Pickers (beside King Tut’s in Beckley); Beckley Presbyterian Church; Eppy’s Drug; Shear Style on City Avenue; Raleigh County Commission on Aging; Bodyworks; One Voice locations in Wyoming County and Beckley; Westside Pharmacy in Oceana; The Ole Flower Bin in Oceana and The Blossom Bucket in Pineville.

The boxes will remain out until after school starts, to provide for any late-comers or transfers to the schools, as well.

The reason to give is simple.

“It makes such a difference in a child’s life when they have their own stuff,” says Cindy Parker, Operation Backpack coordinator for 19 years. “It makes them want to achieve more. If we’ve done that, we’ve done our job.

“It’s a blessing to know we’re doing God’s work. He has blessed the program. If not, it would have fizzled out long ago.”

For more information or to arrange for donations, contact Mabscott United Methodist Church at 304-252-4207.

Operation Backpack isn’t the only way to help students get school supplies.

Heart of God Ministries held its 12th annual Back to School gathering Saturday, and one is planned in Mount Hope on Aug. 17. If you check with your community’s schools, civic organizations and churches, you might find more.