It all started in 2014, when I, Courtney, received a text from a friend asking for help purchasing some school supplies for her four children. This friend was a single mother living on a limited income and barely getting by. Without any hesitation, I jumped into action.
I decided to take it once step further and asked for her kids to join me so they can pick out their own supplies. Watching these four kids find their favorite backpack, cool pencils and fun supplies was a humbling experience for me. While being a single mother myself, I understood the difficulty, that many others face of pushing your pennies as far as possible, and how one minor adjustment could have a huge negative financial impact.
I have always loved going back-to-school shopping and looked forward to it every fall when I was little. Realizing that many children likely never got to experience that same rush of excitement, hit me hard, at my very core. It became my mission to help some local kids get a backpack full of supplies, so they can feel that excitement too!! I ended up filling another 8 backpacks that year, for a grand total of 12 backpacks.
Each year, My goal gets higher, hoping to reach more kids!
2014 - 12 backpacks
2015 - 20 backpacks
2016 - 25 backpacks
2017 - 32 backpacks
2018 - 132 backpacks
**I teamed up with a local friend that gathers and distributes supplies as well.
2019 - 177 backpacks
2020 - 150 backpacks
2021 - 113 backpacks
2022 - 181 backpacks
Elk River, MN
Elk River, Minnesota
In 2022, with the encouragement of my daughter, Braelyn, I reached out to some local facebook groups asking for help with donations of school supplies. With a group effort of twenty or so women we were able to fill 181 backpacks with everything on the supply lists!!
In January of 2023, I put up a post on facebook asking for backpacks. As those are easily the most expensive piece of school supplies. It was there, that Christina from the Rogers-Otsego-Dayton Women of Today chapter noticed my post and reached out asking for more information on my project. I wanted to spread the word of what I've been doing for nearly 9 years and realized I had a nameless organization! After speaking about my mission and goals to help more kids this year than ever before, we started thinking of a name. THE BACKPACK SQUAD had a great ring to it. So now we have a name. * * It takes a village of people to make my goals and dreams a reality and I couldn't do it without the help of my SQUAD!