A Philly area nonprofit is filling free backpacks with school supplies for students in need

A closeup of new backpacks

Foster Angels on Earth gave away backpacks and school supplies for foster children on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

An assembly line of volunteers spent Tuesday filling backpacks at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

At least 200 backpacks were loaded up with supplies for kids in foster care as they prepare to head back to school.

Foster Angels on Earth co-founder and President Patti Hartman said her team hopes to help alleviate some of the stress foster kids face this time of year, explaining that a fresh backpack could help deflect unwanted attention.

Foster Angels on Earth gave away backpacks and school supplies for foster children on Tuesday, August 16, 2022. (Cory Sharber / WHYY)

“They get issued a state bag, which is commonly known as the welfare bag among their peers,” Hartman said. “So this will help bridge the gap amongst their peers and feel a little more normal and fit in a little better instead of having the stigma of a welfare bag.”

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Convention Center Chair of the Board David Nasatir said the initiative will help foster students start the academic year off strong.

“As everybody knows, you never get a second chance to have a first start,” Nasatir said, “so it’s a really important moment for them.”

Foster Angels on Earth gave away backpacks and school supplies for foster children on Tuesday, August 16, 2022. (Cory Sharber / WHYY)

Methodist Services will be distributing backpacks to the network of families it serves on Thursday.

School District of Philadelphia students are set to kick off the school year on Aug. 29.

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