As the start of the school year quickly approaches, people across Loudoun County are gearing up to help students receive the supplies they need.
Thursday marked the third annual Backpack Stuffing Day in Ashburn. The school supplies drive will give backpacks full of materials to kids in county.
Loudoun County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) said the effort will have a huge impact on how students perform in school. “This is important. So many kids don’t do well in school because they’re just not prepared with the tools they need,” she said. “If we give them the supplies they need up front, then they’re going to do better in class from the first day.”
The drive is put on by a variety of partners and sponsors, including Giant, Costco, the Rotary Club of Ashburn, and Automotive Quality Solutions. The goal is to disperse backpacks across the county to kids who cannot afford them.
For those sponsors, the reward comes in seeing students perform successfully in school.
Jimmy Olevson, President of the Rotary Club of Ashburn, said the program started “as an idea to make sure every child had what they need to go to school with the right supplies.”
Since its inception 2014, the initiative has grown immensely. The once 30 backpacks have now turned into 600, and Loudoun County Public Schools Outreach Supervisor Wendall Fisher said it shows no signs of slowing down. “Each year [the partners] step up. Every time that we have this opportunity, more and more of our businesses participate,” he said. “We have a lot of muscle here.”
The adults weren’t the only ones volunteering. Girl Scouts Indira Langhum and Becky Wora said they signed up to help their community. “[Kids] will be able to go to school and have what they need to get a better education,” Langhum said. Wora agreed, adding, “we really just wanted to help out underprivileged kids.”
The supplies are donated by shoppers at more than 17 Giant Food stores around the region. They range from tissues and glue sticks to binders and crayons.
Jamie Miller, Giant’s public affair manager, said the drive has a positive impact on the community. “You want [the students] to start school and have those basic [supplies] at hand,” he said. “If we can help kids out that don’t have the resources—that’s our intent.”