Going Back to School Prepared: Backpack Drive Reaches 20-Year Milestone

Aug 26, 2018

It’s become a rite of summer in the Omaha metro: lots of backpacks, lots of school supplies and lots of smiles on kids’ faces. 

The Salvation Army 7 Can Help Kids Back to School Backpack Drive distributed thousands of backpacks and school supplies to area students and their families on Aug. 10 and 11 at The Salvation Army North Corps, the Kroc Center and the Millard branch of Omaha Public Library and on Aug. 17 at the Council Bluffs Corps. 

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the program, which over its two-decade history has distributed nearly 200,000 backpacks to families in need — a testament to the generous, philanthropic spirit of the Omaha metro. 

Another big part of this annual summertime rite is teamwork. Longtime media sponsor KETV was joined by partners Methodist Health System, Fun-Plex, Wendy’s, Sweet 98.5, Barnhart Press and Pay-LESS Office Products, along with more than 30 community collection partners that support the program by allowing people to drop off donated backpacks and school supplies at locations around town. Local moving company Firefighters on the Move picked up the donated goods at the collection-partner sites and delivered them to The Salvation Army’s Renaissance Village campus, where staff and volunteers stuffed the backpacks with school supplies and prepared them for the big giveaway.

“We are so grateful to our partners and to the many individuals who so generously support this program,” said Susan Eustice, director of media and public relations for The Salvation Army Western Division. “So many families simply cannot afford to purchase new school supplies for their children. This program meets a tremendous need in our community and makes a lot of kids very happy on their first day of school.” 

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