Durham nonprofit helps kids prep for school with backpack giveaway
Posted August 15, 2013
Durham, N.C. — Dozens of underprivileged children and their parents lined up before dawn Thursday for the Durham Rescue Mission's 14th annual back-to-school party and backpack giveaway.
The nonprofit plans to provide as many as 4,000 backpacks filled with school supplies by lunchtime.
Ernie Mills, co-founder of the Durham Rescue Mission, said the family-friendly event is designed to be a party.
"There is a great need (in this community)," Mills said. "People that we work with today are people who have had their hours at work cut back, and a mother can't pay the rent and buy the backpacks and all of that on minimum wage."
Volunteers from GlaxoSmithKline and other local organizations arrived at 7 a.m. to begin preparing backpacks for distribution, and Durham Mayor Bill Bell spoke to the crowd at 9:15 a.m. to encourage children to stay in school.
Backpacks were distributed at about 9:45 a.m., and organizers prepared about 10,000 hot dogs shortly after 10 a.m.
Thursday's party also included a used clothing and grocery giveaway.
“Our goal, as always, is to provide children with the tools they need to get excited about going back to school, all of which is possible because of our generous sponsors and tireless volunteers," Mills said.