Backpack Giveaway In Wilkes-Barre

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WILKES-BARRE -- There was a big backpack giveaway in Wilkes-Barre Monday morning.

People waited in a long line in front of Our Lady of Hope Church on Park Avenue in Wilkes-Barre.  They were here for what was inside.  Backpacks, hundreds of them, all stuffed with just about everything their children will need to begin a new school year.

Maliek Afzel said he has seven children of school age and appreciates the program. It helps him stretch his family budget.

"Regular clothes are cheaper than school clothes. Buying school clothes costs a lot of money. It helps out a lot."

Rose Morgan of Kingston loaded up on the backpack giveaway.  Rose explained she has six children in school.

"If I went to the store to get these, it would be about 100 bucks to get these book bags right here."

One of the supporters of the program is Citizens Bank.  Bank official Donna Farrell said the backpack program in Wilkes-Barre is part of something bigger.

"One of our finest programs is called Gear For Grades and we collect 38,000 backpacks throughout the state of Pennsylvania and agencies that you see today."

Mike Cianciotta runs the Kitchen for St. Paul, which  feeds the poor. Coanciotta said he and other organizers had similar emotions about the backpack giveaway.

"It's a good feeling knowing that you're helping people every day. It's gratifying."

Organizers say they will be back around the same time next year to do the same program because there is a need.