Wood River Valley volunteers assemble backpacks for students in need

Published: Aug. 13, 2018 at 5:23 PM MDT
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The Blaine County Education Foundation is helping students one backpack at a time.

Community members and volunteers from the Wood River Insurance and Wood River Women's Foundation filled backpacks with school supplies at the Community Campus in Hailey on Monday.

"This group is moving really fast. We might actually get 300 done but I figure 150 a day," said Blaine County Education Foundation's Kristy Heitzman.

The backpacks are for Blaine County students in need.

"It's hard to start off the school year and not have brand new supplies and maybe having to borrow or having a stub of pencil or borrowing supplies from neighbors and stuff," Heitzman said. "We want to make sure all the kids get to start the school year off just like all their peers."

The majority of the supplies are purchased through a grant fund but occasionally they received donations.

"We end up buying a quite a few supplies in bulk, and because of that we can get the prices down. It averages about $24 a backpack which is great," said Heitzman.

The backpacks are filled with pencils, notebooks, crayons, rulers and calculators. It takes about two days to assemble them and then they're delivered to students.

"We don't put any names on any of our backpacks, they're on a number system so they're all confidential," Heitzman said.

Several volunteers said the backpacks will make a difference.

"It's a wonderful feeling to have these nice backpacks and all of these supplies given to them. I think it's very, very special," said volunteer from the Wood River Women's Foundation Lisa Adam.

"This is a good thing. It helps out a lot of families that really need it," said volunteer from Wood River Insurance Margie Balcos.

Heitzman said she loves students' expressions when they get their backpacks.

"Their eyes light up when they see their backpacks and then they start looking through their school supplies and they're really excited to go home," she said.