Ready for school: Office Depot donates sackpacks with school supplies to area children

(Top left) Jeff Hood, far left, stands with children in the youth program before they receive sackpacks from the Office Depot Foundation. (Top right, bottom left) Vice president of e-commerce marketing at Office Depot Christine Buscarino, hands children of NeXus Global Serve sackpacks to prepare them for the upcoming school year. (Bottom) Various leaders of nonprofits and the community gathered together for Office Depot’s National Backpack Program. Courtney Schultz/ Pilot photos

(Top left) Jeff Hood, far left, stands with children in the youth program before they receive sackpacks from the Office Depot Foundation. (Top right, bottom left) Vice president of e-commerce marketing at Office Depot Christine Buscarino, hands children of NeXus Global Serve sackpacks to prepare them for the upcoming school year. (Bottom) Various leaders of nonprofits and the community gathered together for Office Depot’s National Backpack Program. Courtney Schultz/
Pilot photos

Area children will start their first day of school this year in style thanks to a big local donation.

Office Depot and the Office Depot Foundation donated 4,000 new sackpacks with school supplies to area children from nonprofits, schools and agencies in the Charlotte area at a special event on Aug. 8 at the Pineville Office Depot store. Organizations that received sackpacks included A Child’s Place, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Activities League, NeXus Global Serve, YMCA of Greater Charlotte and Classroom Central, among others. 

“We want to use our charitable arm to make it about our children,” said Christine Buscarino, the vice president of e-commerce marketing at Office Depot and a director of the Office Depot Foundation Board of Directors. “We want children to start school with honor and dignity.” 

The foundation has given about 3.3 million sackpacks to children in need since 2001 through its National Backpack Program, and plans to donate more than 350,000 sackpacks in 2014. 

The initiative has benefited more than 17,000 Charlotte-area children, Buscarino said. The foundation is hosting more than 35 Back-to-School Celebrations where they deliver the sackpacks directly. 

The sackpacks contain a pen, pencil, pencil sharpener, eraser, six-inch ruler and four crayons. Each of the seven designs were created based on children’s input, Buscarino said. 

Area leaders who attended the event said they were grateful for the contributions to local children. The sackpacks do not have any Office Depot Foundation or Office Depot logos or markings.

“(This an example of) a corporation not worrying about the money, but about the kids,” Pineville Mayor Jack Edwards said. 

The contributions hit home for Charlotte City Council District 2 representative Al Austin, who discussed his own experience living in poverty as a child. He considers the sackpacks “a blessing for our community.” 

“It’s great for children to start school early with confidence and everything they need,” Austin added. 

Mecklenburg County Commissioner-At Large Pat Cotham, a south Mecklenburg resident, said the contributions demonstrated Office Depot is a good corporate citizen.

The Office Depot Foundation continues to reach area children around the United States and Puerto Rico. 

“It’s gratifying to know that we can work together to help the children,” Buscarino said. 

The foundation also will donate a $50,000 grant to a nonprofit in May 2015, Buscarino said at the celebration.

Find more information at www.officedepotfoundation.org.

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Courtney Schultz

About Courtney Schultz

Courtney Schultz is a recent college graduate from Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C. She has both a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Political Science. At Campbell, she was the editor-in-chief of the university’s student newspaper for nearly three years and worked for the Siskey YMCA in their membership services and marketing department. She mostly covers education news for the Matthews, Mint-Hill, and greater Charlotte areas.

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