To Fill A Backpack was started in August of 2008 by Andy Kulp and Jackee Culver. It all came about when they purchased backpacks and filled them with supplies for a families 3 kids. Andy and Jackee decided that if they could supply 3 kids with backpacks then why couldn’t they supply more kids in need. So they set off on the excursion.
An email was sent out on August 6th and our first $20 donation came in on August 8th. After that, we had to get the word out farther so we distributed flyers to the local grocery stores and placed radio ads. By August 19th, donations totaling $692.25 had been received and supplies were coming in from everywhere.
On August 19th we had our first gathering to pack the first batch of backpacks. We had about a dozen volunteers meet at the Arnot Childcare and Learning Center in Port. We setup our assembly line and started packing…a pack of pencils, a pack of erasers, notebooks, rulers, filler paper, binders, etc. By the end of the night we had packed 67 backpacks to be distributed (9 of them were handed out before they could leave the building). We distributed 11 Highschool and 18 Elementary in each of the Port and Coudersport areas. The backpacks were distributed through the Food Pantry and local Churches in Port and the Christmas House and local Churches in Coudersport.
By the end of August, a total of $1,362.25 in donations had been received and over 130 backpacks had been packed and distributed or on their way for distribution. In total, within the first couple of weeks of school over 200 backpacks had been packed and distributed. Up to the last day of September, a total of $1,532.25 in monetary donations had been received along with boxes loaded full of supplies.
After the initial setup and distribution had been completed, the remainder of the supplies are being stored to be used in next years distribution which we are hoping to be bigger than the 2008 distribution. With the monies that remained, about 65 backpacks were purchased from the Rite Aid stores in Port Allegany and Coudersport.
Some of the excess item’s were donated to the Christmas House in Coudersport to be sent to storm struck Texas and also to the “Operation Christmas Child” program through the CMA Church in Coudersport.