Salvation Army begins distributing 5,000 school backpacks

Salvation Army begins distributing 5,000 school backpacks

SPOKANE, Wash. - All summer long the Salvation Army has been collecting school supplies for its annual backpack drive and while the need was even greater than last year, so was the amount donated.

On Thursday, the Salvation Army began passing those backpacks filled with school supplies out to kids before they head to classes. This year they were helped out by Cenex ZipTrips around our area, which raised $38,000 this year as opposed to $26,000 last year. With that money and the donations it received, the Salvation Army was able to purchase and fill more than 5,000 backpacks.

Max Magee has a lot of reasons to be excited for sixth grade.

"Well going to Silverwood, launching off rockets and that new sixth grade feel," he said.

Magee was one of hundreds of kids lined up well before the doors opened at 9 a.m. along with his foster mom Amy Warren.

"We have a special needs little kiddo going into the first grade so he is all excited," Warren said.

Amy is beyond grateful as this gives her big family a small cushion going into a busy school year filled with expenses.

"Oh I think it's absolutely critical to not only us but the children of Spokane, you get a good start at the school year if you have your backpack and you have all your supplies. That is really cool for the kids," she said.

As for her little first grader, he's ready to see the spread inside the Salvation Army gym aka backpack central.

"We will be happy with whatever we get but he did send in a request for Spiderman and if not Ninja Turtles," Warren said.

"We fill these backpacks with the list from the school district for k through 12 so all the students get exactly what the school district wants them to have in their backpack on their first day of school," Shelia Geraghty with the Salvation Army said.

Geraghty loves distribution day and she loves being ready for it. Each year, the need seems to grow.

"We did run out last year and it is sad because the children are lined up and ready to go and we have to shut her down because we ran out," she said.

This year the stockpile is 700 backpacks larger, and more than 350 volunteers were on hand to make sure kids like Max Magee get just what they need to start the school year off right.