In spring of the 2014-15 school year, many of Baltimore’s children experienced disruption in their communities brought on by civic unrest. For many of these same children, back-to-school time is also stressful, as their families are asked to make school purchases when money is tight.
To make a difference to deserving children like these at the start of the new school year, the Office Depot Foundation will donate 6,000 colorful new sackpacks containing essential school supplies to nonprofit organizations, schools and agencies in the Baltimore area. The Foundation – the independent charitable giving arm of Office Depot® (NASDAQ:ODP) – will make the donations during a special Back-to-School Celebration beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 20 (8/20) at the Office Depot store located at 3595 Washington Blvd. in Lansdowne.
According to Baltimore City Public School district officials, the donations will make it possible for every child in grade K-5 attending the following schools to receive a new sackpack:
Arundel Elementary/Middle School
Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle School
Carter G. Woodson
Lakeland Elementary/Middle School
Morrell Park Elementary/Middle School
Violet like Elementary/Middle School
“We are grateful to the Office Depot Foundation for their support,” says Hassan Charles, Executive Director of Engagement for Baltimore City Public Schools. “With this generous donation, they have helped to ensure that all K-5 students at these schools will start the school year off right. For the many families for whom back-to-school expenses are a real challenge, gifts like this make all the difference.”
The Foundation is celebrating the 15th year of its award-winning National Backpack Program in 2015 by donating approximately 200,000 sackpacks to children in all 50 states and internationally.
By the end of this year, Office Depot and the Office Depot Foundation will have given away more than 3.7 million backpacks and sackpacks since the National Backpack Program began in 2001.
“We believe that every child should have the opportunity to go to school with dignity and hope,” says Office Depot Foundation President Mary Wong. “The sackpacks and school supplies we donate help to level the playing field and give these wonderful children a reason to stand just a little bit taller. We are especially pleased to be able to assist the children of Baltimore as they return to school after a period of unrest in the community.”
The nonprofit organizations, schools and agencies scheduled to receive sackpacks on August 20 include:
Baltimore City Public Schools
Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks
Baltimore County Public Schools
Lansdowne Worship Center
The Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools
The Preston Mitchum, Jr. Foundation (PMJ Foundation)
Special guests expected to participate include:
Lucie Lehmann, State Director for U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski
Cheryl Paschall, Assistant to U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski
Pete Kriscumas, Legislative Aide for Baltimore County Councilman Tom Quirk
The specially designed drawstring sackpacks come in seven bright and colorful designs that are new for 2015. Each one includes a zippered pouch containing a pen, pencil, pencil sharpener, eraser, six-inch ruler and four crayons. The sackpacks do not have any Office Depot Foundation or Office Depot logos or markings.
To deliver sackpacks directly to children, the Foundation is hosting Back-to-School Celebrations in more than 20 cities across the U.S. in July and August. Thousands of sackpacks are being given to kids through the Office Depot Foundation’s continuing partnerships with nine nonprofit organizations serving children nationally and globally. The Foundation is collaborating with the AARP Experience Corps, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association, Feed the Children, Food For The Poor, the Kids In Need Foundation, the National Foundation for Women Legislators, Operation Homefront and Samaritan’s Feet International. For the seventh consecutive year, children of the Navajo Nation in Arizona will receive sackpacks.
More information about the National Backpack Program can be found on the Office Depot Foundation’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/officedepotfoundation. To learn more about the Office Depot Foundation and its initiatives, go to www.officedepotfoundation.org/. You can follow the Foundation on Twitter @OfficeDepotFndn; the National Backpack Program’s hashtag is #ODFcares. The Foundation is also on Instagram: @officedepotfoundation.
About the Office Depot Foundation
The Office Depot Foundation is an independent foundation − tax exempt under IRC Sec. 501(c)(3) − that serves as the independent charitable giving arm of Office Depot, Inc. In keeping with its mission, Listen Learn Care®, the Foundation supports a variety of programs that give children tools to succeed in school and in life; build the capacity of nonprofit organizations through collaboration and innovation; and help communities prepare for disasters, as well as recovering and rebuilding afterwards. For more information, visit www.officedepotfoundation.org.