Prince George’s County Public Schools will conduct its ninth annual initiative to collect 10,000 backpacks to help underserved students before the first day of classes on Sept. 3.
The Support Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization established by Educational Systems Federal Credit Union of Bowie, donated 2,000 blue backpacks stuffed with college-ruled notebook paper, pens, highlighters and a ruler for middle school students.
Employees with the credit union, along with public school staff and volunteers, loaded boxes on a school bus Wednesday as part of the county’s “Stuff-A-Bus” with school supplies. Each backpack also has a cellphone case on the side of it.
“Our core purpose is serving the education community,” said Victoria Samuels, vice president of community relations for ESFCU. “We do all sorts of activities for all students, but middle school is a very formative year for students. It is one of the most challenging years. We want to make sure they start off strong.”
All the backpacks will be distributed to students at a back-to-school block party Aug. 17 at the Sports and Learning Complex in Landover.
The county will hold two more events this week where people can donate backpacks: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday at Wegmans in Woodmore Town Shopping Center in Glenarden; and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Bowie Town Center.
Students such as Andretti Vides, 14, can earn community service hours to help stuff, load and distribute backpacks and other school supplies.
Andretti helped load boxes of school supplies Wednesday at the credit union. He will start high school next month as a ninth-grader in Suitland’s Visual Performing Arts program.
“My mother is a parent assistant at Hillcrest Heights Elementary School. I’ve been coming with her to events like this since I was a little boy, so I got the gist of everything, especially the Stuff-A-Bus,” he said. “I always like to help out the community. I learn that even a small community that gives can make a big difference.”