MARION COUNTY, W. Va. (WDTV) - While summer vacation has just begun for many students, a non-profit in Marion County is already working hard to make sure students have the tools they need for next school year.
Having a full backpack ready to go for school is something that can be easy to take for granted, but the "Starts Smart" program in Marion County is proving that many families need help making sure their kids are ready for a successful school year.
Teresa Wright, the co-creator of "Starts Smart" , says the program began 15 years ago as a local church outreach program.
"About 15 years ago, our church started a backpack giveaway, and it just grew from there,"
After seeing the need in the area, they decided to make "Starts Smart" into a non-profit that serves the entire county.
Registration for this year has just begun, but the number of backpacks needed is typically in the hundreds
"You notice there's a need out there," Wright said " I think last year it was 475,"
While school supplies may seem like a small thing, Wright knows that being able to have new supplies can make all the difference in a students confidence.
"I was one of those kids where my mom made just that much over that we didn't get an assistance at all," said Wright "So I know what it is to want that extra and not be able to get it,"
And while the non-profit has already been able to provide hundreds of students with backpacks, they still have a bigger goal.
"Our ultimate goal is to have every student in Marion County with a free backpack, with age appropriate school supplies," Wright said "So that' 8,000 backpacks,"
Currently "Starts Smart" is still looking for more local businesses throughout Marion County to become drop of spots to make it easier for people to donate.
They need all their supplies by August 5th so that the backpacks will be ready to go on the 10th.
Students and their families will have until July 16th to register and make sure they have a full backpack ready to go when schools begins in August.
To register for a backpack send the following information:
Children's name, grade level, and school
to this address:
Marion County Starts Smarts Inc
PO Box 2055
Fairmont, WV 26555
Must be postmarked by July 17