The Backpack Coalition held a Fill the Bus event on Saturday, Aug. 6, at Walmarts in Delafield, Mukwonago, Muskego and Waukesha, as well as Good Harvest in Pewaukee.
The event collected school supplies to fill backpacks for children in Waukesha County that can't afford or don't have access to school supplies.
In 2015 the Backpack Coalition was able to give out close to 2,000 backpacks to kids in Waukesha County, with a dedicated team of community partners and volunteers who marshal this county-wide effort.
To receive a backpack, a family must have filled out an application by July 31 at one of the following sites: Salvation Army in Waukesha County, and local food pantries (Waukesha, Pewaukee, Mukwonago, Muskego, and Oconomowoc). The backpacks will be handed out on Saturday, Aug. 27, at Waukesha County Health and Human Services.
Neil Hambury, an intern and volunteer with the coalition, said that families that receive backpacks are typically families enrolled in free or discounted school lunch, or have been to a food pantry or homeless shelter within a certain number of weeks. These qualifications ensure that the families receiving the backpacks are the ones who need it most.
The Backpack Coalition is a United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County program committed to providing backpacks and school supplies to students with financial constraints in Waukesha County, helping them participate and succeed in school. Started in 1998, as Get Ready to Learn, the collaboration of community volunteers and local organizations has provided an efficient, centralized program, effectively reaching out and serving the Waukesha County community.
Although volunteers onsite in Waukesha didn't know how much school supplies they received, they said they had many bags of supplies in the bus.