The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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July 16, 2014

Operation Backpack still collecting school supplies

The beginning of the new school year is just a month away, a fact that has Operation Backpack busily collecting schoolroom essentials.

From pencils and paper to backpacks and calculators, school supply costs add up quickly. Acknowledging that some area families may not be able to purchase the stockpile of necessary supplies, Operation Backpack was created 20 years ago to remove that burden.  

A community-sponsored backpack and school supplies drive, the organization gives out nearly 900 backpacks each year students to schools in four southern West Virginia counties.

Coordinator Cindy Parker said that her church, Mabscott United Methodist, began the effort two decades ago at a homeless shelter.

Now the program has expanded to almost every school in Raleigh County and spills over into Summers, Fayette and Wyoming

Parker said, “We give backpacks to students from kindergarten age to 12th grade, so we need supplies like crayons and scissors for the younger ones and things like scientific calculators for the high school students.”

Parker said that not having the necessary school supplies can cause students to want to quit school or not apply themselves as much, so providing students with the things they need helps facilitate education and attentiveness in the classroom.

Collection boxes have been placed around the community for people to donate new or gently used backpacks and/or school supplies.

“We will take gently used backpacks as long as they are clean and fully functioning,” said Parker, adding that while the organization prefers gender-neutral backpacks, they will accept all backpacks that are clean and large enough to accommodate a spiral notebook or Trapper Keeper.

Drop boxes are located at both Beckley Walgreens, Beaver Walgreens, The Register-Herald in Beckley, Beckley Presbyterian Church, Blossom Bucket in Pineville, Stagecoach Salon in Sophia and Bodyworks.

To contribute a monetary donation, send it to Operation Backpack, Mabscott United Methodist Church, Box 710, Mabscott, WV 25871.

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