Dobytown Kiwanis, United Way stuffing backpacks with school supplies for kids in need


Two Kearney organizations are teaming up to help children get ready for back to school.

Volunteers are stuffing over one thousand backpacks with school supplies for area kids in need.

There are notebooks, pencils and paper filling around 1,100 backpacks.

"The idea is that all of the children start out school at the same level. Everybody comes with a backpack. It's not like you go there and there are three or four kids without a backpack so then they feel bad. Everybody has the same," said one coordinator the Back to School backpack program with Dobytown Kiwanis Diane Nikels.

Dobytown Kiwanis and United Way of the Kearney Area partnered to provide basic school supplies and backpacks for those needing it most.

"There is kids in every school in Kearney. There is always a handful that could just use a little help this year. It helps the parents, reduce them of that stress. There is not a kid regardless of income level that does not like to go to school with a brand new backpack and school supplies. Every kid feels that way and we want to make sure every kid has that opportunity," said Executive Director for United Way of the Kearney Area Nikki Erickson.

The program has been growing since the start in 1993 from filling around 40 backpacks to now backpacks which serve students in six counties.

"Each year it grows and you'd be surprised at how much it grows each year. I think since we took over, we've probably done at least 12 to 15 thousand backpacks over the years for kids. There are really a lot more children that are eligible," Nikels said.

The back to school backpack program is made possible with donations from around the community.

"The Kearney community has reached out to us this year in record breaking numbers really. The support we've had has just been outstanding. We feel like we are raising awareness at a level which we've never been able to do before," Erickson said.

Families will be able to pick-up the backpacks on Tuesday and Wednesday at Kenwood Elementary.

Families who have not registered are still able to pick-up a backpack if needed.

You can call United Way of the Kearney Area for more information.

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