Community Unites Behind Homeport ‘Back To School’ Drive

1500 Backpacks With Supplies Ready For Delivery

Imagine 27 school buses of children without school supplies.

That is what it would be like if it were not for the donations from close to 20 companies and corporations in Central Ohio participating in Homeport‘s annual Back to School Supply Drive.

“Our community cares. With that support, we are helping as many as 1,500 children in five local school districts and various charter schools get off to an excellent start,” said Morgen Wade, Homeport Manager of Volunteer engagement.

Since July 1, over 50 individuals have stuffed backpacks at Homeport’s new headquarters on Agler Road. Many volunteers participated several times in the stuffing.

“It is exciting to know that people believe in the impact and are returning with their co-workers, friends and kids,” Wade said.

Stuart Kanchuger, a vice president of marketing in Chase’s consumer and community banking division, brought three children and his wife to one backpack stuffing event, then returned with his co-workers a second time.

“A lot of us have families, kids and can provide for their educational needs. We recognize other families are sometimes hamstrung financially,” Kanchuger said. “Participating in a drive like this is a small way to help others get ahead through education.”

Homeport was able to purchase the backpacks at a sizeable discount thanks to the efforts of the Junior League and Charity Newsies organizations.

Children in Kindergarten to 12th grade in Columbus, Southwestern, Hilliard, Pickerington, Canal Winchester school districts, and the charter schools, will be receiving backpacks with supplies catered to the age of the student.

Donated supplies will vary but could include pencils, pens, paper, erasers, binders, folders, crayons, markers, highlighters, scissors and rulers.

Donor organizations this year were Shremshock, EMH&T, Terracon, Kegler Brown, Starbucks (employees and customers), Chase, American Bank, Huntington, The Hadler Companies, Target and Staples, as well as Homeport.

Members of Columbus Realtors, Commercial Real Estate Women of Columbus, and Homeport Young Professionals, also provided supplies.

The backpacks will be provided in many cases at Homeport community events meant to celebrate the start of the school year. The back-to-school bashes include face painting, dodge ball and water balloon games, and backpack decorating. Reading books donated by the United Way of Central Ohio will also be presented to children.

It is the 17th year that Homeport has provided backpacks and supplies. Their delivery is a positive reminder of what lies ahead.

“It sets off the excitement for kids of going back to school and seeing their friends again,” said Joe Mayer, Youth Development Coordinator at Homeport’s Emerald Glen community.