The Southern Chester County Weeklies (

Underprivileged local students receive new backpacks to start school year

By Fran Maye, Kennett Paper

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

KENNETT SQUARE >> Underprivileged students in several local school districts will get a great start to the school year, thanks to a local service organization and many community volunteers.

About 350 high-quality backpacks stuffed with school essentials such as pens, pencils, notebooks, glue, rulers, protractors, binders, index cards and erasers were packed by about 50 volunteers at the Kennett Area Senior Center recently. All of the supplies were new, and the items in the backpacks are valued at between $50 and $60. Even senior citizens, some in wheelchairs, helped with the project.

“I though it was really nice this year to have additional senior citizens help with the assembly efforts,” said said Jordan Gushurst, coordinator of the project and a member of the Longwood Rotary Club. “They seemed to have a good time and definitely enjoyed watching the kids help out.”

The project was funded by the Longwood Rotary Foundation, parents and teachers, and individual donors in the community.

This year, Longwood Rotary Club partnered with LaComunidad Hispana to provide 30 backpacks. The backpacks went to select students in the Kennett, Unionville-Chadds Ford, Avon Grove and Oxford school districts and supplies were distributed directly to the schools. Students in grades K-12 were targeted to receive the backpacks.

“It’s really good to see how excited the kids get when they get new backpacks,” said Gushurst. “All of the kids are excited to get the high-quality backpacks.”

Gushurst said The Longwood Rotary wants to serve even more underprivileged students next year, and encourages parents to pick up a few extra school supplies when they are shopping. The school supplies can be dropped off at the Kennett Area Food Cupboard, or at a drop box in the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District. Checks can be made out to the Longwood Rotary Foundation, PO Box 781, Kennett Square, Pa. 19348, with the words “Backpack Project.” It is a tax-deductible charitable donation.

“This is an easy way for families to support less fortunate kids,” Gushurst said. “Right now, there is more demand than we can serve.”