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Friday, Jul 31, 2015
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Volunteers to fill 583 backpacks for needy students

Suncoast News staff report

Volunteers will gather Monday and Tuesday to assemble 583 backpacks for students in need.

For Bunco for Backpacks coordinator Debi Shackowsky, this will be her 18th year donating toward the cause. In 2001 she reached out to the community to boost donations.

“Three years ago, after personally donating 99 backpacks, I realized I needed to change venues for following years to meet the escalating numbers of children in need each year,” Shackowsky wrote in an email. “As a result, this year’s 583 donated backpacks will exceed last year’s 446 donations.”

About 45 volunteers will converge Monday evening at Hudson High School, 11410 Cobra Way, to begin filling backpacks with school supplies, basic hygiene items and snacks.

Anni and Daniel Callaghan are among supporters for “Bunco for Backpacks.”

“You probably know that there are more than 1,000 homeless children here in Pasco,” Callaghan wrote in an email, “one of the highest rates for Florida. Here’s an opportunity to make a significant dent in their needs, giving them something brand new and something they will own.”

The Web page www provides more information about the cause and what types of donations are needed. The items include colored pencils, markers, highlighters, scissors and erasers, Shackowsky said.

“If a child who is living in the woods, or in a home without electricity or running water, does not have access to personal hygiene or basic hygiene items, then that same child has little to no chance of social acceptance,” Shackowsky wrote in a GoFundMe message. “If the provisions thwart off one act of bullying then the mission has served its purpose.”