State representatives get free book bags to donate to needy kids

dstephens@newsobserver.comJuly 30, 2012 

BACKPACKS01.073012.CAT

District representatives, from left, Angela Bryant, Jean Farmer-Butterfield, Rosa Gill, Edith Warren, and Annie Mobley, (all cq) gather for a press conference at the Office Depot, managed by Garreth Edmonds, far right, on New Bern Ave in Raleigh on Monday July 30, 2012 to distribute sackpacks. The representatives from four low-income districts received 60 sackpacks each, from Representative Rosa Gill, all filled with a pouch of school supplies, to be distributed in August to children in their districts.

CASEY TOTH — newsobserver.com

  • Stocked book bags Each donated book bag includes: • ruler • four crayons • pens • pencils • pencil sharpener • eraser

— Some underprivileged North Carolina families are receiving help this back-to-school season thanks to five state representatives who have partnered with the Office Depot Foundation to donate backpacks filled with school supplies.

At the Office Depot store on New Bern Avenue on Monday, state Rep. Rosa Gill of Wake County and state Reps. Edith Warren (of Martin and Pitt counties), Annie Mobley (of Bertie, Gates, Hertford and Perquimans counties), Angela Bryant (of Halifax and Nash counties) and Jean Farmer-Butterfield (of Edgecombe and Wilson counties) were presented with book bags to distribute to children in their respective districts.

“What we’re doing is important, since so many children can’t get everything they need for school,” said Gill, who works as the educational team leader for North Carolina’s Foundation of Women Legislators. “The best way to help is to make it as easy as possible for kids to do well.”

In helping organize the program, Gill said she focused on low-wealth school districts.

“It’s definitely a big problem in our district,” Mobley said. “I think education suffers a great deal when a family is hurting financially.”

The National Backpack Program’s partnership this year with the National Foundation of Women Legislators will provide about 300 book bags for needy North Carolina families and 15,000 book bags for families across the nation.

The program has donated more than 2 million backpacks since it started in 2001.

Aside from the National Foundation of Women Legislators, the program has been affiliated with charitable organizations including Feed the Children, Food for the Poor, the Kids in Need Foundation and Operation Homefront.

At least one of the representatives at Monday’s event plans to deliver the bags personally

“I will be at the schools with the kids giving out the bags,” Farmer-Butterfield said. “I try to make sure to take advantage of charities like these whenever I can. Although I unfortunately only have 60 to give away, it means that there are 60 kids that will have what they need for school.”

Stephens: 919-829-4563

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