Waukesha volunteers stock free backpacks for kids in need

Posted at 7:57 PM, Aug 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-15 20:57:50-04

With schools across the area starting up, kids need to stock up on supplies to be prepared for the school year. Though, supplies can be expensive and difficult for many families to afford.

The United Way Day of Caring: Backpack Coalition hopes to help. They are donating more than 5,000 filled backpacks to area kids in need.

And they're getting plenty of help, even from those at Luther Manor. The group donated about 100 pencil boxes filled with supplies.

"It's very important kids have supplies," said Jerry Kassens from Luther Manor. "Everybody can't afford it these days. I hope they use it well."

Along with collecting the donated supplies, those at Luther Manor also filled the pencil boxes and left a personal note of encouragement for the students to read as well.

"They really enjoyed that part of it," said Michelle Robertson, Campus Enrichment Director at Luther Manor. "Putting together supplies is fun but writing a personal note and putting stickers and stuff, that's what they really enjoy."

The generosity isn't something lost on United Way.

"It's so nice to look in the faces of those individuals on the bus today," said Lori Hayes with the United Way. "They were just so pleased to be able to do this today and deliver them to us."

Hayes says the word "backpack" grabs the headline but it's what is inside that makes it count. So donations like this are huge to them fulfilling their goals.

"We need so many pencils, glue sticks, erasers," Hayes said. "Some of those things we can't seem to get enough of because there are thousands of them that go into packing backpacks."

Hayes says the backpacks average about $75 each when they are filled. It's a great way for kids to kickoff the start of a new school year.

"They walk into school feeling energized that they are starting off on the right foot," Hayes said.

Families who already signed up for a free backpack can pick them up on Saturday, Aug. 19 between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. at 514 Riverview Avenue in Waukesha.

Those who did not sign up still have a chance at getting a backpack. They just have to bring a birth certificate or social security card to the location on Riverview Avenue between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Supplies are limited but Lori hopes to give away as many as possible.

"There are no guarantees," Hayes said. "But we try to plan ahead. Everyone gets busy if they miss a deadline or didn't hear about it until today, they can come out and still, hopefully, get a backpack."

For more information, contact the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County at 414-263-8100.