50 full backpacks donated to NES

NAPPANEE — For the past couple weeks parents have been purchasing all the supplies their student needs to start the year off right. But there were a number of people that began purchasing this year’s school merchandise last year — and for students they had never met.
Becky Hochstetler, organizer of the Nappanee First Brethren Church’s outreach committee said, “I look for the deals so the money goes further,” she said. “I wait until the backpacks go on clearance after school starts and then buy them so we can get as many as possible for the next year.”
Now in it’s third year, Hochtetler’s fellow parishioners contributed 50 filled backpacks to Nappanee Elementary School students in grades kindergarten through fifth.
“We gave eight (backpacks) to each class and two classes got nine,” she explained. “I try to get the class lists and go by them to purchase the supplies the teachers’ ask for. We mark them by grade and gender. … It took 18 people a little more than an hour to pack them all.”
The filled backpacks were made available at NES’ registration and were quickly distributed to those that needed assistance with supplies. That need in fact appeared not to have been completely met.
“One grandmother was trying to get backpacks for grandkids so I told her to contract the school,” Hochstetler said. “We had dropped them off on Friday and by the time she contacted them Tuesday, they were already gone.”
She said her faithful congregation have — among other things — assisted many people in the community: single fathers trying to stay on their feet; jail ministries; missionary work; collecting food for the Family Christian Development Center; and roofing a house for a single mother. “We started the backpack outreach because I saw the need and I felt God was leaning on my heart,” she explained.