010The Coalition for Compassion and Justice in Prescott, Arizona, recently teamed up with AARP for the Fair Start BackPack drive on July 26th.

The Fair Start BackPack drive is an annual event where volunteers stuff backpacks with school supplies such as pens, pencils, paper, and other materials. The stuffed backpacks are then handed out to less fortunate children.

“Tight budgets can make back-to-school times stressful,” says Brenda Holt, AARP Arizona senior program assistant. “Giving out these free backpacks filled with supplies helps ease the financial burden just a little bit for these families.”

Holt and fellow staff member, Shawn Trobia, senior program specialist, joined in and worked the lines. With their help, and the help of 10 other AARP volunteers, nearly 700 backpacks were stuffed on Thursday.

“This was a fantastic experience,” says Trobia. “There’s a huge need for this service and it felt great to be instrumental in the assistance that the Coalition for Compassion and Justice provides.”

The Fair Start BackPack drive began in 2002 with less than 50 backpacks. This year, over 1,200 backpacks were handed out to children and families in need.