Backpacking to the Future
2,800 students started their first day of school with the supplies needed to #BackpackToTheFuture thanks to the contributions from our community during the 2019 School Supply Drive. Through your online donations, willingness to “Fill the Bus” at WalMart, host drives at your businesses and with neighbors, and drop off donated supplies at our office in downtown Asheville, we collectively contributed $75,000 worth of school supplies for our local students. "We know that healthy, high-functioning communities begin with providing quality education to our children," shares Michelle Wooley, Director of Philanthropy at Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community, after their fourth year graciously organizing and donating to the annual School Supply Drive. "With so many local families struggling to make ends meet we believe that this is a practical and compassionate way to give students what they need to succeed in school. Every child should arrive on that first day feeling equipped for the new year - and we hope parents who need our help feel a deep sense of relief realizing that this need will be met by their community."
Making an Impact One Backpack at a Time
The Horizons Program at Carolina Day School is one of forty distribution partners United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County and our volunteer center Hands On Asheville-Buncombe works with to ensure the donated supplies find their way into elementary and middle grades students hands. See a full list of other participating community partners who distributed supplies this year. The Horizons Program serves low-income students from the Asheville community. Their “transformational, community-centered, summer learning program" is one proven to help close the opportunity gap.
“When the children saw the backpacks they were so excited,” shares Monica Antonazzo, Executive Director of the Horizons program at Carolina Day School. “When they finally got to open them on the last day of the program and take them out, there were exclamations of how nice the things were and how excited they were to have their own items.”
“Many of the kids who were new to the program didn’t have a backpack and when we asked them to bring one to put their swimsuits and towels and things in, they didn’t have anything to bring to put those things in,” shares Antonazzo. “So these backpacks will serve for them to be able to show up at school and feel confident and comfortable around their peers who might have more than them. We know from the parents that they are really grateful as well because many of them have multiple children and having this kind of donation takes the burden of that cost for one child away so that they can adequately supply their other children.”
Thank You Donors, Sponsors, and Volunteers
We’re grateful to everyone who shared their time, resources and energy in making this year’s drive a success. With 35 companies supporting this year’s drive, 365 volunteer hours shared, and 2,800 fully stocked backpacks given to local students, we’re in awe of what our community is capable of when united in a shared vision. This year’s drive would not have been possible without the sponsorship from Bank of America, WNC Bridge Foundation, and Asheville Radio Group.
“I am always championing giving back to our community because we are all part of it.” shares Bank of America Asheville Market Manager David Dowd. “By being present and showing support, encouraging others, whatever it may be, there are so many ways to give. Of course, there is funding and support with dollars, yet there’s such an impact made with people-power and getting people together, tangibly volunteering at a soup kitchen, stuffing backpacks of school supplies, or serving food at a Homework Diner. I think you’re showing that support and helping that person, but you’re also providing a role model and you’re helping yourself in the process.”
Keep the Momentum Going
Join us at our Campaign KickOff at Highland Brewing Company for a Motown Lip Sync Battle like you’ve never seen before! Tickets are only $8 and include a pint and a bite to eat as you raise your glass and croon along to the classics with us!
Not able to attend, yet still eager to get involved?
* Consider VOLUNTEERING at a local middle school this fall or find one of hundreds of opportunities offered through our volunteer center Hands On Asheville-Bucnombe
* DONATE to help support our ongoing work ensuring our community has equal access to the resources necessary to attain the education, financial stability, and health needed to thrive.