Delco students given free school supplies

August 23, 2010 Next Monday classes start at Bywood Elementary in Upper Darby. And there was a special effort afoot to make sure every kid, no matter what their circumstance, will be cool enough for school.

"As exciting as the first day of school is it's really somewhat stressful. There's a lot of unknowns. I thought if I can give them a backpack full of everything they need, they can show up on the first day of school with a little more self-confidence," said Erinn Smith-Delss.

The morning kids ran through a round robin of readiness. First they picked out a brand-new backpack, while teachers located a shopping bag, bursting with school supplies, marked with their names.

"And if you look around and don't see that you have something or that someone else has it and you don't the mindset is that you're not going to be able to achieve like everyone else, it makes a huge difference," said principal Daniel McGarry.

And then something added from last year, the first year of the giveaway: this year, each kid got to pick out a book.

It was a Christmas-in-summer moment that kids and parents alike in smiles.

"I'm kind of broke now so this is really a blessing to us," said Naou Morkhantha.

All the goodies came from donations, first from teachers at Bywood and later from community groups, who jumped as the word spread.

In fact, one super cool pink backpack was sent over by a principal from another school.

"And I really like this backpack because its pink and its black and it has a water bottle," said Taliyah Lawton.

"She's been very excited about coming here. She was up early ready to go," said Jacquelyn Douglass.

This year 50 lucky kids will walk through the school doors with pride. Then their teachers will get right back to work again for next year's effort, where they hope to double that number.

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