For most children, the beginning of a new school year means brand new backpacks filled with all the essentials for starting off on the right foot. But many children at Roosevelt Elementary School in Allentown aren’t so fortunate. Ninety percent of them come from economically disadvantaged homes where parents struggle to scrape together enough money for notebooks and pens, much less a fancy new backpack.
For the fourth year in a row, Good Shepherd associates have responded to that need by holding a backpack drive as part of the organization’s United Way of Lehigh Valley initiative. On September 5, Good Shepherd delivered more than 200 backpacks filled with school supplies and personal hygiene items to several classrooms of excited children. John Kristel, president and CEO, personally helped choose just the right size backpack for each of the pint-sized students in one class of kindergartners.
“I have three young children of my own,” John says, “so I know how important it is to get a backpack that fits.”
Gail Metzger, an occupational therapist at the East Greenville site and project organizer, was delighted with associate support. “Once again, Good Shepherd associates went far beyond expectations in supporting this project,” she says. “The children are always ecstatic over getting their backpacks and everything inside. They do trades with each other and are so very grateful. Their smiles are irreplaceable and stay in our hearts and minds for years to come.”