The Ardmore Young Professionals donated 1,040 backpacks to the Grace Center and have enough supplies to fill supply closets across five school districts—thanks to the success of their Stuff the Backpack donation drive.
The 11th annual Stuff the Backpack donation drive ended Friday, and Andrea Anderson, president of Ardmore Young Professionals and drive coordinator, said this year was the best yet.
“It went really well,” Anderson said. “I would say this drive was better than previous years. We are able to send supplies to all five of the school districts surrounding Ardmore, including Ardmore.”
Bins collecting supplies were placed all over town in an effort to collect paper, pencils, binders, flash drives, and many other supply items before school starts. The AYP also collected monetary donations which they used to purchase even more supplies.
The AYP Stuff the Backpack drive has grown every year. During its first year the organization collected and donated supplies for just 10 backpacks. Fast forward 10 years and the event created more than 1,000 filled backpacks — a goal AYP successfully reached again.
In past years, the backpacks were stuffed with supplies and distributed to students already full, but this year AYP changed its distribution method and will set up supply closets at every Ardmore school, schools in the surrounding area, and at the Grace Center. Anderson said this was because it was so hard to guess what students of different ages need and by letting them choose their own supplies, students will be better equipped for class.
“By doing the supply closets we’re making sure the kids who need those supplies get them,” Anderson said.
In addition to gathering supplies, this year’s drive also included a raffle for a Yeti cooler. The raffle raised $2,000 to help purchase more supplies.
“We still have money coming in,” Anderson said. “We’re going to hold onto those monies until second semester so we can restock those closets and make sure they’re full all year.”