GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - A huge donation is helping thousands of kindergartners across South Mississippi.
For the second year in a row, Keesler Federal Credit Union (KFCU) is donating thousands of backpacks full of supplies for every kindergartner in every public school in the six coastal counties.
That’s 16 school districts and more than 6,700 students.
It’s all part of the Backpacks for Bright Futures Campaign. It was so successful last year, Keesler Federal knew they had to do it again.
“We saw the impact that was shared on social media and having that proof that: ‘Hey, there’s a need, we want to fill that need. It definitely shows a lot in regards to our company and what we stand for,” said Anthony Abella, Financial Education Specialist.
The school districts picked up the supplies Wednesday at a distribution location in Gulfport. Keesler Federal employees volunteered to load school buses, trailers and trucks with the supplies.
“It is an absolutely great feeling, knowing that we’re able to help out kindergartners and make sure that they have everything they need to get started,” said Sylvia Hanes, who volunteered Wednesday.
The backpacks include supplies like pencils, paper and markers. This year, because of the pandemic, they’re also including two bottles of hand sanitizer.
The goal is to make sure no child goes to school unprepared.
“We want all those kids to go in feeling the same. Everybody has a chance. Everybody has the same opportunity. Everybody has the same supplies,” said Andrew Swoger, KFCU president and CEO.
And now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Swoger says that makes this campaign that much more important.
“Even more right now, with a lot of people being out of work, we wanted to make sure that we did this again because it relieves a little bit of the financial burden, even if it’s just a little bit that helps.”
The schools will distribute the backpacks and supplies to students at a later date.