Doing Good: Samaritan Community Center filling backpacks for NWA students, Tyson announces grant


ROGERS, Ark. (KFTA) — School is out for summer, but one local non-profit is already collecting supplies so children can go back to school with a full backpack.

The Samaritan Community Center is making sure every child in Northwest Arkansas can have a fresh start.

“We need tons of help, lots of community involvement. We’re needing 76,000 pencils and 6,500 pocket folders,” says Shannon Green, Manager for Samaritan Community Center.

Back-to-school shopping may seem like months away, but at the Samaritan Community Center in Rogers, over 4,200 backpacks are being filled with new school supplies for Northwest Arkansas children grades K-12.

“We have a lot of generational poverty in the area. To top it off in Benton County, we have a lot of situational poverty. Families living life and then someone gets laid off, a death in the family happens, and it turns into a rollercoaster for everyone in the family. We just want to provide a service and love to others that are struggling,” Green said.

Team members from Tyson Foods are among those volunteering for the Fresh Start Backpacks Program.

“It’s really one of our core values to give back to the communities where we live and work. This is just one of the many things we do not only here in Northwest Arkansas, but in more than 100 communities all over the country,” says Derek Burleson, Public Relations Manager for Tyson Foods.

Tyson’s support for the non-profit doesn’t stop there.

“Today we’re announcing a $25,000 grant that’s going to help subsidize a lot of these backpacks. The Samaritan Community Center gets a lot of really great donations in terms of school supplies, but they have to go out and purchase additional supplies to fill all these backpacks that they distribute and give out for free to these families in Northwest Arkansas. That $25,000 is going to go a long way in helping fill even more backpacks for this organization,” Burleson said.

The grant will also provide basic tools for kids to succeed at school.

“When you are wanting to provide the best we can for these kids, it takes a lot of effort and a lot of community coming together,” Green said.

Ultimately, helping break the cycle of poverty.

“I think everyone coming together as one is huge, and the more we can do that, the more community we can be,” Green said.

You still have time to donate school supplies to the Samaritan Community Center’s Fresh Start Backpacks Program for the upcoming fall semester. Click HERE.

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