By Colette M. Jenkins
Beacon Journal staff writer
Brittney Rogers believes in giving back.
That is why she joined 75 corporate volunteers on Tuesday at McEbright Community Learning Center to sort school supplies and fill backpacks for students in need.
“We’re not put on this earth to only think of ourselves,” said Rogers, an office administrator at A. Schulman Inc.’s Akron plant. “Somebody always needs help and if I can help, I’m happy to do it.”
The work session was the last step in preparing 2,250 backpacks for distribution on Sept. 8 at six Akron public elementary schools as part of United Way of Summit County’s Stuff the Bus school supply project.
Volunteers, representing 40 companies, filled 1,000 backpacks at McEbright. The other 1,250 were packed by corporate volunteers at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., FirstEnergy and Steere Enterprises Inc., which sponsored the Stuff the Bus effort. In total, 259 volunteers sorted and filled backpacks.
The annual school supply drive took place June 26 through Aug. 19. During the two-month drive, community members and employees of local companies that signed up to participate donated classroom materials, including pens, pencils, erasers, paper, markers, crayons and glue sticks. This year’s effort more than quadrupled last year’s distribution of 500 backpacks.
The goal of the drive is to give corporate and community volunteers a chance to make a difference in the lives of local children and families. Jim Mullen, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Summit County, said that with more than half of Akron children living in poverty and more than a quarter of Akron third-graders reading below grade level, the agency is committed to ensuring that every child has the basic materials they need to succeed in the classroom.
“These critical items are just one way United Way and our partners can help to eliminate barriers that prevent these students from being able to start the year ready to learn.,” Mullen said “They are the needed supplies to give each child the opportunity to succeed.”
One hundred volunteers are scheduled to deliver the backpacks to students at Firestone Park Elementary School and Crouse, McEbright, Sam Salem, Schumacher and Voris community learning centers.
“I’m sure that the kids who receive these backpacks and their parents will be happy to get them,” Rogers said. “It’s just great to be involved in something that you know will help someone else.”
Colette Jenkins can be reached at 330-996-3731 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She can be followed at www.twitter.com/ColetteMJenkins.
(Photos: Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal)