For 250 elementary school students, having new school supplies and a sharp new backpack won’t be a problem this year.
In its fifth year, Kankakee Valley REMC’s Pack-a-Backpack program gave members and community residents the opportunity to work alongside their cooperative with a focus on cooperative principle seven — concern for community.
“Hundreds of students in our community struggle to purchase the basic school supplies each year,” said Amanda Steeb, director of marketing and communications for KV REMC. “The ritual of having new school supplies and a clean new backpack is something every student enjoys. This program allows students needing a little extra help the opportunity to have the same positive first-day-of-school memories as their classmates.”
This program was born out of a conversation with an area school superintendent, after which KV REMC employees saw the opportunity to mobilize resources among members and the community. The result was 150 supply-filled backpacks the first year. This has grown each year after. Today, the program provides backpacks to 11 schools throughout the KV REMC service territory.
“The support of the community was overwhelming this year. The outpouring of donations exceeded any other year,” said Steeb. “It is the support from the community and our members that allows us to make the impact that we do for our youth.”
As students embarked on another year of memories, the unique backpacks and new school supplies are more than just classroom necessities. These colorful folders, new sharp crayons and fun pencil boxes make the start to the school year exciting; giving each student enough confidence in the new surroundings.