Local groups donate 4,000 backpacks to low-income families

Students pick up free backpacks at a giveaway event at Arvest Ballpark on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023. (Samaritan Community Center)

The Samaritan Community Center and Tyson Foods on Saturday donated 4,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to low-income families in Northwest Arkansas.

The collaboration was part of the annual Fresh Start: BackPacks for Kids initiative, which aims to equip students with the tools they need to succeed at school.

The center had been distributing free backpack tickets to students since the beginning of June, and on Saturday, students presented their ticket at Arvest Ballpark for a free backpack filled with paper, markers, glue, folders and other essential school supplies.

“It takes a lot of planning and organizing to make this event happen for 4,000 students,” said Shannon Green, business development Mmanager at Samaritan Community Center. “It’s a year-round process, but it’s worth every minute to make sure these children are prepared and ready to learn on the first day of school.”

Tim Grailer, senior director of community impact at Tyson Foods, said it’s one of the company’s core values to give back to local communities.

“We’re proud to continue our partnership with the Samaritan Community Center to help families and children have a positive start to the new school year,” said Grailer.