TAMPA – Four thousand children in the Tampa Bay area will have new sackpacks and school supplies following a recent distribution to local agencies.
The Office Depot Foundation made the donations during a Back-to-School Celebration with local school children, elected officials and representatives of locals nonprofits and schools.
“This is remarkable,” said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, adding that the community values schools, education and its teaches.
“We try to build a great community and you are helping,” she told representatives of the Office Depot and its foundation during the gathering Aug. 6 at the 211 N. Dale Mabry Highway Office Depot location.
Groups receiving the sackpacks included the Pinellas and Hillsborough county school districts; YWCA of Tampa Bay; The Children’s Home; and Eckerd Community.
Miray Ross Holmes, manager of the City of Tampa’s Department of Neighborhood Empowerment/Community Partnerships & Neighborhood Engagement Division, said some will be distributed Thursday, Aug. 15, at an education breakfast in East Tampa. The principals and teachers can then give them to students in need.
The specially designed sackpacks come in six different color combinations with kid-friendly graphics. Each one includes a zippered pouch containing a pen, pencil, pencil sharpener, eraser, 6-inch ruler and four crayons.
Zach Bonner of Valrico, founder of the local Little Red Wagon Foundation, is a national partner in the project and attended the ceremony.
“In order for our community – really our nation to succeed – it starts with education,” he said.
In 2013, the Office Depot Foundation will donate 300,000 sackpacks in 50 states, Puerto Rico and a number of other countries.
By the end of this year, more than 3 million backpacks and sackpacks will have been distributed through the program that began in 2001. If you put those 3 million children together, they would fill Raymond James Stadium more than 45 times, said Mark Dobosz, a foundation boardmember.