Thanks to a BB&T Lighthouse project, 192 backpacks are already waiting for area students when school resumes in August. They will be distributed Aug. 12 as the culmination of Operation Backpack.
By Lisa Boykin Batts
Times Associate Editor
The school year has just ended, but plans are already underway to get students prepared when the first day of classes rolls around in August.
Operation Backpack aims to provide backpacks filled with school supplies to at least 3,000 Wilson County Schools students. The first big push for the event comes on Wednesday at Chick-fil-A.
Christy Proctor, owner/ operator of the popular restaurant, celebrates her birthday each year with a backpack fundraiser and party at Chick-fil-A.
Proctor wants to do her part to get students prepared for school.“No kid wants to show up without what they need,” she said.
On the Bucks for Backpacks event day Wednesday, Chick-fil-A will be collecting backpacks and supplies and donating a portion of receipts to the project.
There will also be events throughout the day, starting at 10:30 a.m. Those who donate a backpack can register for a summer splash pool party for 25 at Victory Fitness. Random prize giveaways will happen during the day for those who make any type of donation.
From 2 to 5 p.m., Proctor will be offering the popular breakfast item, Chicken Minis.
That evening, from 5 to 8, there will be outdoor amusements and indoor games as well as birthday cake.
And it’s all to bring in the donations.
Last year, enough money was raised at Chick-fil-A to purchase 450 backpacks. Proctor’s goal this year is 460, coinciding with her age. “I’m going to be 46 this year,” she said.
“We’re gong to hit our goal even if I have to pay our goal.”
Although most people who donated the first year brought in backpacks and supplies, in recent years, donors have given money; $25 will pay for a filled backpack. This year, Proctor has also started a GoFundMe page.
School supplies needed this year include binders, paper, pencils, glue, erasers, notebooks, highlighters, two-pocket folders and composition books.
This particular project has special meaning for Proctor, whose college degree is in elementary education.
She said she saw the need firsthand.
Proctor said that as a child she always looked forward to getting new school supplies each year. “It was almost like Christmas,” she said, adding she liked school supplies so much that she had a collection of pencils she never sharpened.
Proctor also has compassion for educators who have their hands full with so many things and often end up having to provide supplies for their students as well.
Volunteers are needed to help with the Bucks for Backpack event. Call 252-206-9862 if you want to help.
This is the fifth year for Wilson County Schools’ Operation Backpack.
Each year, an average of 3,000 backpacks have been donated and given away to the system’s neediest students.
This year’s distribution event will be a little different, according to Amber Lynch, public relations director for the schools.
For the last several years, the backpacks have been distributed at an annual back-to-school fair held at one of the schools. In addition to the giveaway, the event also included vendors, school representatives and fun events for the kids.
Lynch said that after some reevaluation, it was decided to use funds strictly for the backpacks and to end the other events that day.
On Saturday, Aug. 12, from 9 to 11 a.m., backpacks will be distributed at Darden Middle School. More details of the event will be revealed later this summer. But the main reason for the event will be backpack distribution.
The donations got a big lift recently with 192 backpacks filled with school supplies donated by a BB&T Lighthouse team in the customer care center.
Businesses and individuals will be recognized in different levels for their contributions. For more information, call 252-399-7713.
Backpacks and supplies should be dropped off at Darden Middle School, 1665 Lipscomb Road, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday until Aug. 1.