PARKERSBURG - Dozens of volunteers Wednesday stuffed 1,000 backpacks with back-to-school supplies for children throughout the region.
The annual United Way Alliance backpack program provides school supplies for at-need students, said Joyce Mather, United Way Alliance executive director.
"The purpose of the program is to benefit families in need, so their children will have the supplies necessary for success in school," she said. "Many families are on very tight budgets, and the start of the school year can financially be a challenging time for them."
Photo by Michael Erb
Parkersburg High School Red Wings Brooke Taylor, left, and Aleea Gray, right, help put school supplies in backpacks Wednesday morning as part of the United Way Alliance’s annual backpack program for at-need students.
Volunteers gathered Wednesday morning at the First Presbyterian Church in Parkersburg to fill the backpacks with donated supplies. The volunteers came from Parkersburg High School, Parkersburg South High School, the Parkersburg Lions Club and Altrusa International of Parkersburg, Mather said. Dozens of volunteers spent nearly five hours the day before unpacking boxes and sorting supplies for Wednesday's backpacking blitz.
"It really is a huge process, but it really is worthwhile," Mather said.
The backpack program is funded by the United Way Alliance, The Ross Foundation, Belpre Area Community Development Foundation and Our Community's Foundation. Some of the supplies were donated by area businesses, and the backpacks included packets of dental supplies and information donated by the Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund, Mather said.
The backpacks are being distributed through Community Resources, a United Way Alliance community partner. The program will benefit students in Calhoun, Jackson, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Wirt and Wood counties. Mather said this year Doddridge was added to the list of receiving counties.
Mather said the backpacks can be picked up at Community Resources offices in the following counties on the following dates:
* Calhoun County: 7:30 a.m. 4 p.m. July 30 until supplies are gone.
* Jackson County: 9 a.m. 3 p.m. Aug. 1-3.
* Pleasants County: 8:30 a.m. 2 p.m. Aug. 1-3.
* Ritchie County: 9 a.m. 3 p.m. Aug. 2-3.
* Roane County: 9 a.m. 3 p.m. Aug. 1-3.
* Tyler County: 10 a.m. 2 p.m. Aug. 1-3.
* Wirt County: 9 a.m. 3 p.m. Friday and July 30-31.
* Wood County: 9 a.m. 3 p.m. Aug. 1-3.
Doddridge County will be distributed at the Children's Health Fair from noon to 6 p.m. Aug. 8 at Doddridge County Park, Mather said.
Brenda Myers, emergency service coordinator for United Way, has for years participated in both the preparation and distribution of the backpacks.
"When you see the children get the backpacks, it is really exciting," she said. "The kids are so appreciative and so are the parents."