More than 5,000 backpacks donated to local students

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PANAMA CITY, Fla (WMBB)–Select students in Bay District Schools received a surprise Wednesday. More than 5,000 backpacks were distributed to students in need thanks to ‘Blessings in a Backpack’.

The non-profit partnered with Vera Bradley to send students home with essential items that are often taken for granted.

Most students are still recovering from Hurricane Michael, preventing them from having access to items that are important to their education.

“The supplies that I don’t have is helping come in handy because I don’t have scissors or anything like that, or crayons, and I don’t have any folders…I didn’t think to get any,” said Chrisitianna Teague, a Bay High School senior.

On Friday, ‘Blessings in a Backpack’ filled thousands of backpacks with school supplies and snacks.

Their goal–to make sure all students are taken care of during and after school hours.

“I think when kids like me go through rough times, and we get the opportunity to have things like this it makes us feel a little bit better over our situations,” Teague said.

Teague is not alone. Her classmate, Trent Dean, says this gesture is about more than just material items.

“It helps me a lot because I’m in my senior year and this stuff could help me, motivate me, push me to graduate and I need that,” Dean said.

Often, some students are afraid to ask for help. Staff say any assistance, big or small, is appreciated.

“For us to be able to keep bringing back to remembrance that ‘hey you’re not forgotten, we do care’, and the fact that people are still trying to help, it means a huge amount,” said Billy May, Principal for Bay High School.

Students who are registered as homeless will be given backpacks first. If there are leftovers, the school will distribute them accordingly based on demonstrated need, officials said.

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