A record 1,224 children attending 27 elementary schools in Tompkins and neighboring counties went to school this fall with a new backpack filled with school supplies.
Program leaders for the Cornell Elves Backpack Program – now in its 12th year – reached out to co-workers, friends, family and community members asking for their help in providing backpacks to children in need. Cornell campus units and community organizations also contributed significantly to the effort.
“There were times when the holding room was just packed, piled with backpacks waiting to be picked up … and then more arrived,” said program coordinator Maureen Brull, a senior consultant in Cornell’s Division of Human Resources. “I want to give a special thanks to the leaders of each of the elementary schools for all of their efforts to help these kids.”
Cathy Aitchison, school social worker for the Cincinnatus (N.Y.) Central School District, said, “One parent found me the night of the ice cream social and was very thankful her children were able to have new backpacks and supplies to take on the first day of school.”
The Cornell Elves website has more information on the backpack program and on the Cornell Elves Holiday Program, which provides children in need with gifts for the winter holidays.
Brull cited the following organizations as crucial to the backpack program’s success: CFCU Community Credit Union, girls’ lacrosse at Ithaca High School, MillerMayer, Walmart and West Groton Bible Church. She also thanked the following Cornell colleges and units: College of Engineering, Computing and Information Science, Cornell University Library, eCornell, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Law School, and Procurement and Payment Services.