Teenager organizes backpack stuffing event to help students access school supplies

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When she saw how much school supplies were for her and her four siblings, she realized “that price could be the difference between some families paying rent for the month or buying for the week or buying school supplies for their kids for the year."

Now that she is no longer in high school, her younger sister Montana Checkoff has taken over the organizational duties, finding organizations to donate to.  

Montana Checkoff says in connecting with the organizations to which they'll provide supplies, she learned that COVID-19 is creating an even wider learning gap.

"They're not able to share with their peers and they're not able to borrow from their teachers so they have less of an opportunity to get supplies. So their need right now is even higher,” she said. 

LaToya Spencer, program director for the Boys and Girls Club of Camden County, says for kids starting the year off virtually, those supplies are even more crucial.

"It's coming from within their home so I'm sure parents are trying to cut corners due to the economic situation,” Spencer said. 

And while these supplies help with the financial burden of school, Spencer adds this year, there's no ignoring the emotional burden.

"It's just a major sense of uncertainty, but this additional task has weighed on them,” Spencer said.