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United Way preparing kids for back to school

A group of volunteers in Schuylkill County is making sure students are prepared to succeed in the classroom.

POTTSVILLE, Pa. — The gym at the Salvation Army in Pottsville filled up with volunteers on Monday.

Denise Deck was one of many people who helped fill backpacks with potential at the Schuylkill County United Way Stuff the Bus event.

"Unfortunately, we do have a lot of kids in this area that are going to need this," said Deck. "It was really nice to see everybody come out to help out."

Volunteers stuffed bags with all kinds of donated school supplies.

"Notebooks, pencils, folders. It makes a huge difference," said Jenna Marwine. "Some of the kids don't even have these supplies, so it's great to give back to them so they can start the school year off with the supplies they needed."

The bags will be handed off to organizations, including Big Impact Group of Schuylkill County, a mentoring program for young children.

Marwine is one of their volunteers.

"We actually give them out to just our families in our program," said Marwine. "So we have usually about 160 sign up."

Some backpacks will also go to schools. Bob Giba is the principal at St. Joseph's Center for Special Learning in Pottsville.

"Even though some of our kids need adaptive equipment and stuff like that, they can still benefit from everything the United Way does," said Giba. "When they raise money, and they do stuff like this, it goes right back in the county and in the area that they do it for."

With the uncertainty surrounding the past year and the upcoming school year, Giba said he's encouraged to see so many people pitching in.

"I think this is a great testament to Schuylkill County's vitality and just resilience," said Giba. "That regardless of everything, if it's for a good cause, people are going to come out."

More than 1,500 children now have a fully loaded backpack coming their way, all thanks to people who care.

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