Last August, the line to receive a free backpack and school supplies at Montgomery County Public Schools' annual back to school fair extended beyond the school district's headquarters in Rockville to the parking lot of Montgomery College.
"[It] was a little unwieldy," Tim Warner, chief engagement and partnership officer for MCPS, said in an interview with MCPS TV.
The fair ended up providing more than 8,000 backpacks to families in need.
For the start of the 2013-2014 school year, MCPS wants to multiply last year's donation by about six and raise enough money for 50,000 backpacks filled with school supplies—enough for every student who received free or reduced meals to have one, Warner said. The demand is so great that students will get the free supplies at their school and not at the annual fair.
To make its goal, MCPS launched "MCPS Gives Backpacks" with a website and Twitter hashtag (#WeGIVEBACKpacks) to match.
"We want to give every child the opportunity to come to school equipped and ready to learn," Warner said.
Each backpack costs the district only $10, Warner said. For $10 residents give a student. With more money, donors can sponsor an entire classroom, a grade level or an entire school.
Sponsorship levels are:
- School: $6,500 and up.
- Grade: $1,500 and up.
- Class: $300 and up.
- Student: $10 and up
For more information:
- Call the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships at 301-279-3100;
- Visit http://www.mcpsgivebackpacks.org/ to donate online; or
- Mail checks to: OCEP-MCPS GIVE BACKpacks, 850 Hungerford Drive, Room 50, Rockville, MD 20850.