BOSTON - Hundreds of volunteers spent their Friday morning in Roxbury assembling thousands of backpacks for children in need.
Ahead of the start of the fall semester, the 12th annual "Cradles to Crayons" backpack-a-thon assembled 700 volunteers to assemble 40,000 backpacks.
Founder and CEO Lynn Margherio says nearly 300,000 children in Massachusetts come from families struggling to make ends meet.
"Today we are here to ensure that 40,000 of those kids are able to hold their heads high," said Margherio. "That is a child who is starting the school year without a backpack, without school supplies, without clothes that fit."
Cradles to Crayons aims to help children in need receive the basic tools they need to perform well at school.
"We've got folders, notebooks, glue sticks, pencils, markers, brand new backpacks and all these folks working in assembly lines," said Karen Grant, with Cradles to Crayons. "This is amazing, people are taking time out of their workday and saying, 'This is important.'"
Volunteers at the backpack-a-thon said they personally know the struggle of not having supplies for school.
"I grew up in Boston so this means a lot to me," said Norbert Kong, a volunteer. "Growing up with a single mom myself it means a lot to kids in the city to get these kinds of resources. The struggle is real, everyone out here is helping."
Some children were among the volunteers, such as 9-year-old Kristen Lawson. Her mom told Boston 25 News this is their third year at the backpack-a-thon and they take away an important lesson every year.
"That's why we come and I make her come with me because then she realizes not everyone gets this pink unicorn glitter backpack," said Cassandra Hakkila.
As a finishing touch, volunteers add a personal note into each backpack that each student will get on their way back to school.
Communities in Worcester, Lynn, Boston and New Bedford will be receiving the backpacks and supplies.
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