Who Needs A Backpack project a huge success

Sep 12, 2019 by

Published September 12, 2019

NORTH READING — Debbie Sharp, an educational advocate from Who’s Learning Now, LLC, recently completed the second annual Who Needs a Backpack project.

Together with help from her children, Sisi, 11, and Bryce, 9, as well as additional black-belt candidates, family members, friends, neighbors and complete strangers they were able to collect and donate 250 filled backpacks, two boxes of extra school supplies, and $350 in gift cards for school uniforms.

Last year they had filled 166 backpacks and had set a goal of filling at least 200 backpacks this year.

THE WHO NEEDS A Backpack project was a huge success once again this year as the community came together to provide backpacks filled with school supplies to students in need. The helpful helpers included (clockwise left to right, front to back): Bryce Sharp, Dyhan Vijaianand, Vincent Higgins, Ryan Perrotti, Kiersten Higgins and Sisi Sharp. (Debbie Sharp Photo)

Sharp believes that every child should start their school year with dignity. “No one needs to know who can afford supplies and who cannot. Every child should be able to come to school ready to learn, not worrying about school supplies. Having the necessary school supplies gives every child the confidence to know that they are just as smart, just as loved, and just as worthy as the student sitting next to them in class,” she said.

Sharp and her crew offers thanks to the following area businesses that served as collection locations for the backpack drive: Ryer’s Store, The UPS Store, North Reading School of Ballet, The Dancing School, Alpha Omega Music, Salon 77, Oracle (Burlington), TraceLink, The New England School of Performing Arts, Homewood Suites (Andover) and Cutis Pharma, a division of Azurit Pharmaceuticals (Woburn).

Additionally, these local agencies also deserve thanks for serving as collection locations: Flint Memorial Library, North Reading Police Department and St. Adelaide’s Church, Peabody.

Sharp also offered thanks to friends, family members and strangers who donated supplies and money.

“Thank you to a local lemonade stand. Three sweet girls donated all their proceeds to our project,” Sharp said.

These are the agencies with direct connections to children in need who were provided backpacks for their clients: North Reading Food Pantry (every student supply list in North Reading has been filled), Citizens Inn Transition (Peabody), Department of Children and Families (DCF) foster children in Massachusetts, Lazarus House (a homeless shelter in Lawrence), and schools in Revere serving refugee students.

“Together we have helped more than 250 students start their school year with dignity and ready to learn,” she said.

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