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If the most wonderful time of the year is back-to-school shopping for parents, then Glenwood Elementary's cafeteria on Wednesday was Santa's workshop.
Markers, crayons, Spiderman backpacks, rulers, glue, and all sorts of school supplies were sorted and distributed to go to school districts throughout Wood County. The elementary is in Perrysburg Township. The activity was a part of Owens Community College Alumni Association's "Backpack to the Future" program.
Between Wednesday and today, the group will send 529 backpacks and 8,130 school supplies to 17 area elementary schools this month. Those districts include Bowling Green, North Baltimore, Elmwood, Eastwood, Rossford, Northwood, Genoa, Woodmore, and Toledo.
"We definitely appreciate it," said Megan Spangler, Glenwood Elementary principal. "Our kids need them. It is nice for the kids to get off to a good start."
The "Backpack to the Future" program was sponsored by Books-A-Million Inc., Directions Credit Union, Great Lakes Credit Union, and Genoa Bank. Several locations from those sponsors had boxes to collect school supplies from customers and employees.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to see more photos from the event.
"The community support is great, people really responded," said Laura Moore, executive director for the Owens alumni association. "We spend the summer collecting backpacks and school supplies for kindergarten students."
It is the 10th year the Owens Alumni Association has conducted the drive and Ms. Moore said the 529 backpacks are more than last year, but the amount of school supplies are down. Last year, she said, they had about 11,000 supplies. But the rising cost of backpacks meant more donated money had to be devoted to obtaining those, leaving less for school supplies.
"We want to get the kindergartners backpacks because it is such a necessity, and they can keep them for a couple years as they get started on the right path," she said.
Gently used or new backpacks and new school supplies from area residents were donated the past three months for this drive. People also donated crayons, markers, bottles of glue, glue sticks, colored pencils, pencils, pink erasers, school boxes, pocket folders, marbled covered composition books, and Kleenex tissues.
The drive collected $3,433 in cash to be used to buy school supplies.
The Owens Alumni Association established the supply drive in 2004. To date, the program has given 3,410 backpacks and more than 62,300 school supplies to disadvantaged children.
Contact Matt Thompson at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.