MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - WMC Action News 5 put the call out for help getting Mid-South children ready to go back to school and our viewers responded!
WMC teamed up with the YMCA of Memphis to collect school supplies for local kindergartners, holding a backpack drive at the t.v. station on Wednesday, July 24. We’re grateful to those of you who stopped by to say “hi” and donate.
Generous Mid-Southerners plus perfect weather equaled the perfect combination for the Y's "Supplies for Success" backpack drive.
Retired Memphis firefighter John Littles said he stopped nearby to pick-up lunch and noticed YMCA volunteers waving signs along Union Avenue and knew he had to give.
"I've always wanted to contribute to my community," Littles said, "and help our youth as much as possible. So I had to come by here. Mary and them grabbed my credit card and ran it. It was very simple."
WMC personalities joined the YMCA staffers in the parking lot of the station from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the backpack drive. The effort was televised live in every newscast, and many viewers said that’s what convinced them to come out and donate.
"I just saw Joe Birch on the t.v.," said Kay Barbieri, "and I said we need to get in the car and go down there."
Pat Corbitt's daughter is a kindergarten teacher, so donating to the Supplies for Success backpack drive was something she couldn't pass up.
"That first school experience can make or break a child's whole school career," said Corbitt, "and you just can't do it without the right supplies."
Jordan Domin, senior program director for the YMCA in Cordova, said the Y has a presence in nearly 80 Memphis area schools now.
"We are partnering with these schools," he said, "working with the principals and the teachers, and our staff is in the schools as well. Through these partnerships and relationships we're able to identify the kids in needs who may not have everything they need to start off the school year. We all know kindergarten is kind of scary, new school, making new friends. The last thing we want is for a child not to have supplies and a backpack at the start of the school year."
Those kids will have Crayola crayons and scissors, thanks to bags of donations dropped off by employees from Shelby County Juvenile Court who said they’ve seen too many children wind up in the justice system. This is their way, they said, of trying to break the cycle. And a mother, with her kids in tow, heard about the backpack drive, stopped at the store, bought a bunch of items on the Y’s school supply list and brought them to WMC. Kind-hearted Mid-Southerners willing to give a little to help a lot of children.
“The times that we can donate and put back money to help our youth,” said retired firefighter John Littles, “we need to do it every way possible. Help the youth instead of watching them on the news in trouble. Help them succeed in life by donating!”
The giving doesn’t end even thought the backpack drive is over. If you weren’t able to stop by the station, the YMCA is collecting donations online all month long. $35 will buy a backpack filled with all the necessary supplies, though any dollar amount is welcome.