Students line up for backpacks, supplies

Warren Family Mission gives out 472 bags

Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple Tatianna Harrison, 7, of Warren, looks for the perfect backpack during the backpack and school supply giveaway Thursday at the Warren Family Mission. Approximately 475 backpacks filled with school supplies divided by age group were given away. The giveaway was sponsored by Novelis.

WARREN — Amber James of Warren arrived at the Warren Family Mission at 10:30 a.m. Thursday — three-and-a-half hours before a backpack distrubtion event was set to start — to be one of the first people in line.

“I came for my kids and my nephews because my sister’s watching my kids for me, so there’s nine,” James said.

The children are in different grades, ranging from kindergarten to 11th grade, James said. She said that most of the supplies last the whole school year.

The backpacks were separated into four different age groups and held school supplies geared toward that age group. For younger children, the bags held things like crayons, markers, pencils, paper, hand sanitizer and other items. For high school children, the bags were filled with a binder, filler paper, a Texas Instrument calculator, a protractor and other items they would need.

Rita Baker of Niles has been attedning this type of event for six years.

“A lot of stress for the parents is eased, especially the parents who are struggling like my brother and my nieces,” Baker said. “They struggle a lot and don’t get much money.”

She brought her children when they were young and is now bringing her brothers’ and nieces’ children.

“The backpacks are new, they’re not used. Some places give out used. And they actually give the supplies to the children by their age group,” Baker said.

Novelis sponsored the event. This year, they provided 475 backpacks full of school supplies for those in need. All but three backpacks were picked up by families.

Novelis is the leading producer of flat-rolled aluminum products and the world’s largest recycler of aluminum. It has a plant on Griswold Street NE in Warren.

“This is a great jump start for families to have the basic that their children will need to be successful in school,” said Dominic Mararri, director of public relations for the mission. “They can definitely get some of the necessities.”