Elgin Community College is seeking volunteers and donations of school supplies for its annual Project Backpack benefiting students in need.
The community-based initiative runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 11 in ECC's Building J Spartan Events Center, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin.
Since its inception in 2010, Project Backpack has served more than 12,500 students within the college's footprint. Last year, more than 1,400 backpacks were distributed to families. The goal this year is to give out between 1,800 and 2,000 backpacks and so far officials have 400 backpacks left over from last year.
"It's incredibly moving to see the impact this event has on so many families in our community," said Megan Highland, Student Life coordinator and Project Backpack lead. "Thousands of smiling students have left the event wearing their new backpack full of supplies and excited to start the upcoming school year. Seeing students receive the supplies they need to learn is a wonderful experience, and it's all made possible by the many generous donors and volunteers."
To be eligible to receive backpacks, students must provide proof of residency or fall enrollment in Elgin Area School District U-46, Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300, Burlington-based Central Unit District 301, St. Charles Unit District 303, Keeneyville District 20 or ECC.
Backpacks filled with school supplies are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis with a limit of one backpack per student. Several community agencies and services, such as vision screening, also will be available at the event to help participating families.
"Backpacks aren't enough so we've expanded the event a little bit to include more resources," said Amybeth Maurer, ECC Student Life and first-year programs director. "We are just trying to reach out into our community to see where the greatest needs are."
List of needed school supplies include: gender-neutral backpacks, pocket folders, wide-rule spiral notebooks, filler paper (150-200 count, wide rule), standard yellow wood No. 2 pencils (10 count), black pens, scissors, glue sticks (0.21 ounce), rulers, and crayons (24 count).
Donations are being accepted through July 23 at multiple locations and can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday at ECC's Student Life Office, Building B, Room B173. To make a monetary donation, find additional public collection sites or for more information, visit project-backpack.org or call the ECC Student Life Office at (847) 214-7370 or (847) 888-5000, ext. 4211, to hear information in Spanish. Volunteers interested in helping stuff backpacks Aug. 8 or 9 or during the Aug. 11 event can register online.
Project Backpack is sponsored by ECC, Elgin Community College Faculty Association, Community Crisis Center of Elgin, ECCP3, Kane County Regional Office of Education, Kane County Teachers Credit Union, U-46 and United Way of Elgin.