Volunteers packing backpacks today

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Posted at 11:47 AM, Jul 27, 2021

The Backpack Project's volunteers were working today to get ready for school.

Volunteers gathered at the Petroleum Club, and helped by writing inspirational notes, making zipper pulls, and packing backpacks full of school supplies.

The project aims to help foster children be ready for school.

When a child is removed from their home, they are placed in a foster home within 2-4hrs. As mandated by DCFS, Dept of Child and Family Services, the child must return to school within 3 days of removal. Usually this is a different school based on the location of the foster family. When a child enters care they may only have the clothes on their backs. The foster family is responsible for purchasing everything they will need for school. Many of these children are removed in the middle of the school year and need to purchase all new school supplies to attend the new school.

"Anything we can do to help make their day any brighter, encourage and empower them a little bit," said Stephanie Leblanc. "Really empowering these foster kids in Acadiana is the most important thing and bringing the community together to learn about volunteerism and helping these foster children. I cant think of a better way to do it."

The project has partnered with Kiwanis of Lafayette again this year, and the packed backpacks are sent to CASA of SoLA for foster children in the 15th Judicial Court. On average, CASA of SoLA represents approximately 200 children per year. They will work with DCFS to deliver backpacks to the foster children in Acadiana, project chair and co-founder Stephanie LeBlanc tells us.

If you'd like to donate to the project, you can do so through the Kiwanis. Click here.