FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Parker White
Greensboro, NC (June 20, 2012) — BackPack Beginnings, a local non-profit with a mission to serve and meet the most basic needs of underprivileged children in Guilford County, is launching a new Comfort BackPack program to help children who are in transition from traumatic situations. The new Comfort BackPack Program will provide backpacks full of items such as stuffed animals, blankets, hygiene products, toys, books, school supplies and more to needy children ages 3-17.
The need is great. This year in Guilford County, over 8,400 children have been affected by abuse, foster care, homelessness, or refugee resettlement. Often removed from their homes with only the clothes on their backs, children in these traumatic transitions are in need of comfort and items they can call their own.
Over the course of its first year, the Comfort BackPack Program plans to issue 1,500 bags to children through partner agencies including Children’s Home Society, Church World Service of North Carolina, Cone Health, Family Service of the Piedmont, Foster Friends of North Carolina, the Guilford County School System, Pathways Center, Partnership Village, World Relief and Youth Focus. The average cost of providing a comfort backpack to a child in need is $20.
People who want to help can donate, hold a supply drive, or assemble their own Comfort BackPack. Instructions and a checklist can be found at the non-profit’s website www.backpackbeginnings.org. “There are many children right in our own backyards living under horrendous conditions of hunger, abuse, and displacement,” commented Parker White, Founder/Volunteer Executive Director of BackPack Beginnings. “Our organization believes these ‘comfort’ backpacks are a tangible way we can serve these disadvantaged children, in addition to our existing weekly Food Program that sends Guilford County Schools students who are in need home with backpacks full of food over the weekends.”
“These comfort backpacks will give our children a reason to smile – by providing a bright spot during a frightening and chaotic time in their lives,” said Susan Wies, Director of Victim Services, Family Service of the Piedmont. “What a great way for us to be able to offer care and comfort in such a tangible way!” Family Service of the Piedmont served 1,950 individuals who were at risk for child abuse or neglect in the 2010-11 fiscal year.
Guilford County Schools reported that 2,330 students in the school system experienced homelessness. Susan Eubanks, Supervisor of Homeless and Transitional Services, Guilford County Schools commented, “I am delighted that the Guilford County Schools’ Homeless Education Program will be working with BackPack Beginnings’ Comfort BackPack Program. This resource will touch the lives of many of our most fragile students. Basic needs are critical to the learning process and this will enable them to be more prepared to learn. ”
According to Church World Service, “For most of our refugee children, this will be the first time they have been given new school supplies of their own. BackPack Beginnings’ Comfort BackPack Program will be sending Greensboro’s most recently arrived children out with backpacks to begin their education in the United States. Church World Service is thankful for this program!” Church World Service of North Carolina serves the refugee and immigrant communities of central North Carolina.
About BackPack Beginnings
BackPack Beginnings, founded in 2010 by Parker White, a native of Greensboro and mother of 2 children, is a 100 percent volunteer-run and donor-driven organization. What started out as a feeding program in one school feeding 50 children has grown to a multi-program organization serving approximately 3,000 children a year. During the 2014-15 school year, the Food BackPack Program sends nutritious, kid-friendly food home on the weekends to over 1,300 children in 25 Guilford County Title 1 schools and Head Start programs. If you would like to find out more or support BackPack Beginnings through in-kind donations, funding or volunteering, please contact Parker White at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.backpackbeginnings.org.