More than 70 area businesses participated in the Small Business Council of Rochester’s annual Backpack Give Back program, helping an estimated 1,500 local kids with school supplies.
Now in its third year, the SBC program uses just word-of-mouth through members and nonmembers to gather school supplies and stuff backpacks for underprivileged children, culminating in Wednesday’s all-day drop off at R.W. Dake & Co. Inc. in East Rochester.
Dake also supplied the truck to deliver the backpacks and has supported the event since its inception, said SBC President Ray Isaac, who also is president of Isaac Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.
“It’s just one of those small, unseen things that our organization does,” Isaac said of the backpack drive. He picked up roughly 100 backpacks Wednesday morning from M&T Bank Corp., Nixon Peabody LLP and Genesee Regional Bank.
By late morning Wednesday, hundreds of bags already had been loaded into a Dake delivery truck, including 150 from All American Home Care. Companies were given about a month to pull together supplies such as paper and notebooks, pencils, pens and highlighters for area children, Isaac said.
“This is an initiative where we said, hey, there’s people out there in need, let’s see what we can do,” Isaac said of the program, run almost entirely by volunteers.
SBC also runs a program at Thanksgiving in which it solicits food items for baskets the organization distributes to families in need. Isaac said more than 3,000 boxes of items were donated last year, helping to feed some 12,000 people.
As far as the backpacks, though, Isaac said the looks on the kids’ faces when SBC volunteers deliver the bags is priceless. Often the children will show their thanks by hugging the volunteers. SBC delivered more than 1,100 backpacks last year.
“SBC is your friend in business and your friend in the community,” Isaac said. “Our whole initiative as an organization is to set up businesses for success. In this way we’re setting up kids for success and giving them the essentials they need when they go back to school, so at least they have a good start to a successful school year.”
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