The back-to-school hassle might be a little easier for some, with the help of two local businesses that are part of a national initiative to provide students with classroom necessities.
From noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Verizon retailers at 141 S. Allegheny St., Bellefonte, and at the Nittany Mall will be two of 350 stores nationwide taking part in the School Rocks Backpack Giveaway.
Regional Manager David Morgan said the two stores will give away 100 backpacks to elementary and high school students in the area who are accompanied by a parent. It’s on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last, he said.
“We bought brand-spanking-new backpacks that are different colors and different styles for boys and girls, and filled them with pens, pencils, paper, markers, crayons,” Morgan said. “We expect they’ll go quickly.”
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If the backpacks don’t go, the stores will donate them to local schools, program spokeswoman Mallory Sturgeon said in an emailed statement.
The local Verizon retailers were also part of a similar initiative last year called the “ Culture of Good,” which donated school supplies for teachers and raised money for the Bellefonte Area School District.
“It was our way of giving back to them so the money didn’t have to come out of the school budget,” Morgan said.
Through the host company, The Cellular Connections, 100,000 backpacks will be donated though the program nationwide, according to program spokeswoman Megan Custodio.
Last year, the company donated 60,000 backpacks.
“The backpack giveaway is a huge part of TCC’s Culture of Good movement that’s all about making a positive impact on employees while benefiting the world,” said Scott Moorehead, president and CEO of TCC, in a statement. “It’s how our company gives back to every community where we do business, and it involves every employee at every level. We’re honored to have the ability to give back to those who need it.”
In 2013, the National Retail Federation predicted the average person with children in grades K-12 would spend $86 on school supplies. About 16 million children in the U.S. live in poverty, according to TCC.
“TCC is doing its part to ensure that as many children as possible are set up for educational success,” Custodio said.