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Murray Journal

Boys & Girls Club, Verizon and Google provide school supplies to needy families

Sep 07, 2018 02:36PM ● By Jana Klopsch

Volunteers stuff more than 2,000 backpacks for needy children. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

By Shaun Delliskave | s.delliskave@mycityjournals.com

It’s not unusual for parents to sing the Yuletide favorite, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” in August, as their children trudge back to school. And, like the holidays in December, August can also be an expensive time for parents, since back-to-school costs include so much more than a notebook and pencils.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake (BGCGSL) partnered with Verizon and Google to give away 2,000 backpacks to needy elementary, junior high and high school students in Salt Lake County. Volunteers gathered at the Murray Boys & Girls Club on Aug. 1 to fill each backpack with basic school supplies, including pencils, crayons, notebooks, binders, markers, folders, glue sticks and more. One backpack per child or parent was provided.

For households already struggling financially, spending money on books, clothes and other needed school items often means that other expenses get behind. But getting an education is important in the fight against poverty.

According to Amanda Hughes, director of development for BGCGSL, “More and more demand is put on working families and we see the need rising in our clubs. Every kid should walk into school feeling prepared and ready for a great year. We want to help make sure they have the tools they need to succeed now and later in life.”

Both Verizon and Google provided the funds necessary to purchase the supplies and backpacks. Verizon employees volunteered to stuff the packs, while BGCGSL helped spread the word and facilitated the distribution to the community. At each of the eight BGSGSL locations, 800 backpacks were given to youth and 1,200 were distributed to the community on a first come, first served basis.

“Verizon reached out to us with a desire to do something good in the community and we worked together to identify the need and find a way to get these supplies and backpacks into the hands of the kids and families who need them most. Verizon brought on Google to help with the logistics,” said Hughes.

Volunteers worked in assembly-line fashion in the club gym. With each person carefully stuffing an item into each pack, the completed backpacks soon grew into a mountain that dwarfed the volunteers. Murray Mayor Blair Camp stopped by in the afternoon to help distribute the backpacks.

The Murray Boys & Girls Club has provided a safe place for kids for more than 50 years.  According to its mission statement, “Our mission is to inspire and empower youth, families, and communities to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.” While providing many after-school programs for youth, the Boys & Girls Clubs also seek to ensure success during school.

According to Hughes, “Kids need a safe place to be when school is out. They need caring adult role models, a healthy snack, help with their homework, and programs that help develop healthy habits and good character and citizenship. They need a place to belong. This is where our clubs step in.”

“Those looking to get involved and make a difference in the lives of kids in our community can donate or volunteer in our clubs. There are opportunities for individuals, church groups, and corporate businesses to get involved and volunteer,” noted Hughes.

Information on Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake is available at www.GSLclubs.org.