#ShareTheStrength: Backpacks of Love

 In Share The Strength

We are thrilled to #ShareTheStrength with Backpacks of Love for the month of September!

Homelessness and poverty have become much more visible and prevalent problems in suburban areas like northern Metro Atlanta. Last year Forsyth County, one of Georgia’s wealthier counties as measured by per capita income, conducted its first ever survey of the homeless population.

Backpacks of Love serves homeless and at risk children and their families in Forsyth and North Fulton counties. We deliver backpacks of food and other needed items to 17 different schools, as well as Jesse’s House, an emergency shelter for adolescent women in Forsyth County. Since its inception in 2011, Backpacks of Love has delivered over 190,000 pounds of food and other essentials in approximately 9,000 backpacks.

Backpacks of Love operates almost entirely through the stewardship of its sponsors and volunteer labor. Over 250 individual sponsors serve by filling backpacks of food or by making other donations. Six different churches, St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit, St. Columba’s Episcopal Church, Johns Creek Baptist Church, Alpharetta First United Methodist Church, and Roswell Assembly of God have an organized effort within their churches to assemble sponsors and donations. Additionally, businesses and civic groups such as Best Deal Movers, Travelers Insurance, Alpharetta AutoDeals, Bank of North Georgia, the Johns Creek Rotary Club, and the Milton/Windward Rotary Club have donated funds and/or organized collections of food, backpacks, and other crucial items.

Backpacks of Love was named by Mimosa Elementary School as its Partner of the Year in 2012, and has also received a grant for backpack purchases from the Piney Grove Middle School PTSA. Manning Oaks Elementary selected Backpacks of Love as its Partner of the Year in 2013, and as did Elkins Pointe Middle School in 2014. BofL was selected as Taylor Road Middle School’s Partner of the Year for 2016. BofL Founder John Ray was selected as Small Business Partner in Education of the Year in 2015.

For further information on Backpacks of Love, please contact John or Monica Ray at lovingbackpacks@gmail.com. Tax deductible contributions can be made to the North Georgia Community Foundation, FBO Backpacks of Love, 615F Oak Street, Gainesville, GA 30501.

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