SOUTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) --Summer vacations are almost over and that means it's nearly time to head back to school.
But many students in our area don't have the necessary tools to succeed.
After a kick-off Wednesday by the Phillie Phanatic, around 600 corporate volunteers lined up inside the Lincoln Financial Field to fill 30,000 backpacks with school supplies, all part of the United Way's Cradles to Crayon's 10th Annual Ready for School Backpack-A-Thon.
"We got a whole system going and we're coordinating different colors so it's fabulous, and I think the kids are going to really appreciate it," said Hannah Leese, Friedman LLP.
"The energy that propels people is the fact they're working hard, but they know at the end of it 30,000 kids will have a brand new backpack," said Michal Smith, Executive Directior, Cradles to Crayons. "We think of it as a launching pad, not a backpack."
This is the largest amount of help and supplies for the growing event. Their goal is to help children living in poverty, whose families often can't afford supplies that can average hundreds of dollars per child. Organizers say the donations have a lasting impact on students.
"Unfortunately the need far outstrips even our efforts this morning and the truth of the matter is think back to school for all of us. If you didn't arrive at school on that first day feeling prepared, it kind of set the tone for the whole year," said Jim Cawley, President and CEO, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.
The project doesn't end here. All of the backpacks and supplies will go to the nonprofit partners who will make sure kids who need them get them in time for school.