Westerville Caring and Sharing adapts to provide students and families school supplies

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For years, Westerville Caring and Sharing’s back-to-school backpack drive has provided families in need with school supplies for the start of the academic year. The COVID-19 health crisis hasn’t halted their efforts but the nonprofit group has adapted their plans to ensure students have the supplies they need.

On Monday, the nonprofit group distributed the last of its backpacks and supplies to 170 students and their families through a drive-thru pick up. Previously, the backpacks were laid out so students could choose a backpack of choice.

Westerville Caring and Sharing’s typical donation sites -- the Westerville Public Library and Westerville Recreation Center -- were closed because of the state’s ban on mass gatherings. Instead, the nonprofit used monetary donations to purchase most of the school supplies.

“Even amid the uncertainty of how the school year will look, it was important to us to provide supplies to our students,” said Connie Jones, who serves as the group’s project co-chair with Paula Givens. “Whether they return to the building, or continue to work from home, we want them to feel good about having a new backpack of tools for a successful year of learning.”