Orlando volunteers fill backpacks with supplies for at-risk students

Gift for Teaching helps kids

ORLANDO, Fla. – With the start of the Florida school year right around the corner, volunteers in Orlando came together to gather supplies for students in need on Wednesday.

Supporters from A Gift for Teaching, Fifth Third Bank and the Orlando city government filled 800 backpacks with notebooks, pencils, rulers and other school supplies during the eighth annual Summer of Dreams backpack stuffing event.

The backpacks will be donated to at-risk students participating in the 10-week Summer of Dreams program.

"It's so important that every child show up to school with the supplies that they need and feel good about the first day of school," Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said.

Alexis Hill, 15, said the program is something that's helped after her mother was diagnosed with cancer.

"It was very hard on me.  My grades started slipping (and) I didn't know who to go to," Hill said. "Now, I'm an all A student.  Now, I have people I can trust to talk to."

The program ensures access to food for homeless children during the summer and provides a learning environment in between school years.

[DONATE: A Gift for Teaching]

The backpacks filled Wednesday will be distributed to nine different Orlando-area schools on the first day of classes, which is Aug.13.

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.