With the the first day of school just weeks away, many parents and students will hit the stores and start shopping for supplies, but for other families who cannot afford to do so, Lake Havasu residents Ciella Burke and Saige Farley have worked countless hours collecting backpacks to help families in need by hosting their annual Backpack for Kids drive.
Burke first started collecting backpacks for the drive six years ago to help out families in need. In those six years, Burke along with her sister Saige, have delivered more than 900 backpacks to local schools in the Lake Havasu Unified School District, which in turn later distributes the items to local families.
“When I was in school, there was no question that I could afford a backpack and have supplies,” said Ciella Burke, organizer of the drive. Then around sixth grade, I started to notice kids around me that didn’t have supplies and it made me sad. I later told my parents about it and asked what I could do to help. That is when we came up with the Backpack for Kids Drive.”
Some of the items that families typically ask for are pencils, pens, paper and notebooks, but backpacks are especially needed by most families. When a family receives a backpack, inside they will find erasers, notebooks, pencils and a pencil sharpener. But if there is an item that is not included in the backpack like scissors or highlighters, Burke will include those items based on grade level and school required supply lists.
“It’s amazing that we are able to provide these items to families who really need it,” Burke said.
“And to be able to have a drive that is very successful every year is awesome.”
In order for families to receive a free backpack, they must apply for one by contacting their local school office or contacting Burke for an application. When an application is filled out with a request for supplies, Burke can supply a backpack based on gender and grade to each family.
The backpacks will later be distributed at all schools in the Lake Havasu Unified school district a week before school starts.
“Delivery day will definitely be my favorite part of the drive,” said Burke.
For more information on donating school supplies or for an application, contact Ciella Burke at 928-486-9525 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.