Backpack Giveaway Helps Nashua Families In Need Prepare For School Year

Aug 20, 2013

Backpacks are lined up on the gym floor at Ledge Street Elementary School in Nashua. More than 2,300 were available for low-income children, all filled with school supplies.
Credit NHPR / Michael Brindley

The Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter held its annual backpack giveaway on Tuesday.

Families walked through rows upon rows of backpacks spread out across the gym at Ledge Street Elementary School.

“I’ll take the princess one,” said one girl, who was with her father.

The more than 2,300 backpacks are filled with school supplies, donated by local organizations and businesses.

This is the 21st year the soup kitchen has run the program, and as organizer Carol Weeks says, there’s no shortage of need for assistance among families in the city.

“The past four years, we have needed about 2,200 to actually be successful to match up all the kids with the bags, so yeah, this year is the highest number to date.”

More than 600 people had lined up before the doors even opened.

Ledge Street School has one of the highest levels of low-income families in the city, with nearly 80 percent qualifying for free or reduced lunch.

But the program was available to all children in the Nashua area.

A man named Tom who didn’t want to give his last name says it is his first time coming to the event.

He was able to get backpacks and supplies for his two children.

“The kids needed backpacks this year and I’m out of work and everything so I figured if they’re going to help. I think it’s a great program. They help out the kids and everything, that’s wonderful.”

For the first time, older students were given USB flash drives, because Weeks says more teachers are asking papers to be submitted electronically.