Submitted by Shannan Schmitt, director of Partners in Education, Cincinnati Youth Collaborative
Thanks to Huntington Bank, Big Lots and WCPO, 1,400 students in Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) received brand new backpacks—just in time for the start of the school year.
In its second year, “Project Backpack School Supply Drive” distributes backpacks and school supplies to various schools through several non-profit organizations, including the Salvation Army. The CPS schools and school-related programs that benefitted from this year’s drive are Rothenberg Preparatory Academy, Bond Hill Academy, Hayes-Porter School, Project Connect and Youth Homework Centers.
The idea grew out of Huntington Bank’s “Backpack Index” initiative, which researches the average cost of school supplies for middle school and high school students. The bank quickly realized that the growing cost of school supplies was impeding on the success of many students and their families.
“Our aim was in part to prepare parents and help them plan for the rising cost of school supplies and back-to-school requirements, but also to provide parents with a teaching tool and opportunity to discuss financial obligations and responsibilities with their children,” said Sally Gardner, marketing specialist at Huntington Bank.
With the help of its partners, Huntington was able to purchase discounted backpacks through Big Lots and advertise the drive on WCPO Channel 9 news, inviting people to bring school supplies and cash donations to any of Huntington’s branches.
Huntington Bank as a whole donated over $30,000 backpacks this year.