National Blessings in a Backpack Day Celebrated at Nevitt Elementary
On the morning of Thursday, September 15, students at Nevitt Elementary were surprised to find out that their multi-purpose room transformed into a donation and distribution event to celebrate National Blessings in a Backpack Day. Shiny new backpacks and boxes of canned goods, cereal, and snack bars were stacked high on tables. At another table, over 800 new books from a variety of genres were on display.
Thanks to the generous donation from Waste Management Phoenix Open, Thunderbird Charities, PGA Tour Wives, and Kids Need to Read, each student from Nevitt Elementary was given a new backpack, non-perishable goods, a Highlights Magazine and a new hardback book of their choice for National Blessings in a Backpack Day.
“We are here today because we love these kids and want to see them succeed,” said Director of Charitable Giving for Thunderbird Charities Cheryl Ruggiero. “We love seeing their smiling faces and knowing that we are making a difference in their lives, no matter how big or small.”
Blessings in a Backpack is a non-profit organization currently feeding over 83,000 children, at 900 schools in 46 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Their mission is to mobilize communities, individuals, and resources to provide food on the weekends for elementary school children across America who might otherwise go hungry. Thunderbird Charities is in their third year of supporting this organization.
One-by-one, each Nevitt student made their way through the line and said “thank you” to community organization members, Tempe Elementary staff, parents, and fellow students who helped distribute the donations.
Nevitt fifth-grader Isaac Matus was one of the students who helped pass out food to his schoolmates. When asked why he wanted to volunteer, he explained that he understands the impact of donations, especially since he currently lives in a home with twelve people.
“It makes me feel good to help other students who may not have a lot of food and books at home,” said Matus. “I am very thankful.”
Denise Gary, Executive Director of Kids Need to Read, went the extra mile by giving each Nevitt student a high-five when they approached her table for a brand new book. Gary noted that the mission of Kids Need to Read is to empower today’s youth with access to book collections and literacy programs.
“There is a huge need for providing children with books,” said Gary. “A child’s access to books is vital to increasing overall literacy rates and decreasing dropout rates at schools.”
Kids Need to Read also recognizes the importance of involving parents in developing their child’s reading skills. Find resources for parents and children on the Kids Need to Read website at http://www.kidsneedtoread.org/.Second-grader Arianna Guzman smiled brightly as she peered into her new backpack. “I’m excited to go home and share food and my new coloring book with my family,” she said.