Volunteers, United Way prep backpacks

PARKERSBURG – Backpacks for area school children were stuffed with back-to-school supplies Wednesday through a program of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Joyce Mather, United Way executive director, said more than 1,000 backpacks were assembled by student volunteers.

The backpacks will be provided to school children in Calhoun, Jackson, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Doddridge, Wirt and Wood counties, Belpre and Little Hocking, Mather said.

“There isn’t any way teachers can supply everything that’s needed,” Mather said. “This provides children an opportunity to show up for the first day of school with the tools required to be successful.”

The “age appropriate” backpacks are for school kids of all ages from pre-K to high school, Mather said. In addition to back-to-school supplies, the backpacks also contain dental pouches that Mather said augment the work being done in Wood County. Volunteers from Parkersburg Catholic High School put together the dental pouches.

This is the sixth year the United Way Alliance has done the program, taking over from the GE Elfun Society.

Students from Parkersburg and Parkersburg South high schools helped pack the bags Wednesday morning at the First Presbyterian Church with members of the Parkersburg Rotary and SW Resources. Brenda Myers coordinates the program.

The United Way Alliance works with Community Resources Inc., the Williamstown Welfare League and Belpre Area Ministries to distribute the bags. Mather said pick-up dates for the backpacks have not been established. She recommended contacting CRI, at 866-585-5525, to learn when the program will distribute backpacks in the respective counties.