Salvation Army gives out free backpacks, school supplies

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The first day of school for most kids is next week. And the Salvation Army was giving away free backpacks and school supplies Friday to people who need them.

Many kids today were saying they are excited for school to start and to get their brand-new backpacks.

The Salvation Army says they want to do anything they can do to help kids start the school year on the right foot.

“We do this every year because we know there are some families who struggle with the costs of back-to-school supplies. And we know this is a big help at that time. And we want to make sure kids are prepared for learning and development. And this is something we feel is very valuable,” Mike Gilbert, director of development with the Salvation Army, said.

This is the Salvation Army’s 30th year partnering with five local businesses to collect school supplies, including backpacks, pencils, notebooks, crayons and more. This year, there were enough donations for them to pack 350 backpacks.

“This is all donated, including shoppers who went into the store, came out with materials and put the supplies and put them into the box, as well as multiple local businesses who collect it on our behalf,” Gilbert said.

Ide Family Dealerships was one of the business that helped collect a portion of the 5,000 school supplies.

“So we’re very community driven here at Ide and educations very important to us as well. And a lot of supplies to help kids be successful in the in school and have their education is important to us too. So we want to make sure they have the tools to succeed,” said Chrissy Frank, events specialist and sponsorship coordinator at Ide Family Dealerships.

All 350 backpacks were distributed to students Friday. And the Salvation Army plans to do this again next year.