Back pack drive brings smiles to students in Camden

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
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Watch the report from Jeannette Reyes on Action News at 5 p.m. on Aug. 29, 2017.

CAMDEN, N.J. (WPVI) -- Students heading back to class got some much-needed help to get themselves ready for the school year, and it's all thanks to some very generous donors.

It was like a Christmas present in August at KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy. Except the gifts weren't exactly toys.

"When I looked at my book bag it was all of these kinds of pencils. I'm like 'Wow. That can keep us going for the whole year,'" said fifth grader Jasmine Schley.

On Tuesday, hundreds of kids received colorful back packs filled with supplies that checked off another kind of list.

"I'm thinking, 'I'm really happy right now having this opportunity to get all of these kinds of book bags,' and I'm really excited," said Jasmine.

"You shouldn't have to worry about a back pack to get an education," said Bridgit Cusato-Rosa, School Leader at KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy. "You shouldn't have to worry about, 'do I have a pencil.' By giving those things to our scholars they can focus on what's the most important thing to them, which is to get to and through college."

The Cooper Foundation and Camden city officials teamed up to distribute the 1,000 back packs filled with school supplies during this summer's third annual Operation Back Pack drive.

"We feel very committed to the students here at the school," said Susan Bass Levin, President and CEO of the Cooper Foundation. "So, whether it's holiday time or back packs or reading to kids in the classroom, we are very much part of our neighborhood."

It answers a great need among a vast majority of the students.

"I'm really grateful that I got all of this stuff and I'm proud of myself. And, I feel lucky," said Jasmine.

Another KIPP middle school opened up this week in Camden. The Cooper Foundation will be partnering up with that school as well to donate another 200 back packs to those students.


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