If you have ever shopped for school supplies with your child, you know that a lot of time and care goes into filling up the cart with just the right items, in the unique colors and designs that your child loves. You also know that each year, the list of items children need is expanding: it now includes flash drives, headphones, and expo markers for the teacher, to name a few.
For children living in poverty, it is not a question of what color, design or brand of backpacks and school supplies they receive – very often, their parents cannot afford supplies at all. To help meet this need during back-to-school time, Four Oaks in Iowa City organized an event called Backpack Give Back. Participating businesses displayed “apple trees,” with each apple listing a child as well as their grade and school. Then, employees and patrons of the businesses picked an apple and bought everything that child needed and loaded it all into a brand new backpack.
Billion Automotive in Iowa City went above and beyond in making the Backpack Give Back a success. They “adopted” 36 kids and provided bags filled with school supplies for each and every child. Staff member Kerry Prybil spent hours of her own time collecting donations from employees, shopping, sorting supplies, and filling backpacks. The children who received the bags, who are enrolled in the PAL after-school program and Safety & Permanency, were genuinely thrilled to receive their backpacks.
Billion supports Four Oaks in many ways throughout the year. Most notably, they hold a Holiday Party for the children at Cedar Valley Community House in Cedar Rapids, complete with gifts for every child, cookies and candy, and Santa and his elves! Four Oaks is grateful for support from Billion Automotive, as well as Hills Bank and Oaknoll, for making the Iowa City Backpack Give Back a success.