Salvation Army Spokane distributes 5,000 backpacks at annual back to school event

Salvation Army Spokane distributes 5,000 backpacks at annual back to school event

The Salvation Army Spokane held their annual Backpacks for Kids distribution Wednesday. Not only did they break a record with how much the $50,000 they raised for the event with their partner Cenex Zip Trip stores, but they also handed out the most backpacks of any year: 5,000.

“Wow! This is our ninth year with doing this, it started off with just a few hundred backpacks,” Major Ken Perine said.

The line to get in formed before sunrise. Crystal and her girls were right up front, still wearing pajamas.

“She woke us up real early ’cause our dad said it was like four-something,” said Angelina Frantz, Crystal’s daughter.

The family has been here before and says they know in order to get the bag you want, you’ve got to get there early.

For the Fritchen family, it was their first time at distribution.

“We needed a little bit of help this year, we are struggling,” said mom April.

The four Fritchen children entered the gym an hour after the event started, and there will still plenty of options to bring smiles to their faces.

April said of her youngest daughter after she got her first backpack, “she just made my heart melt, like with her excitement about going to school.”

The Salvation Army doesn’t just buy thousands of the same backpacks in bulk, they purchase different kinds as they want each kid to feel special.

“We bought good quality backpacks for the kids, they are made from good material. Its stuff kids can use and hopefully use for the rest of the school year,” added Major Perine.

Each was filled with pencils, paper and binders from back to school supply lists.

In an adjoining room, a resource fair was set up with community support, dental exams and even haircuts.

As families left, there was no shortage of happy faces from kids that would not take off their new backpacks, and words of gratitude from thankful parents.

“It means a lot, to me especially with all my kids,” April said.

“This is a great help for all the children. I mean, I really appreciate it,” added Crystal.