As families begin to think about back-to-school shopping, some naturally have anxiety – economic anxiety. It’s no secret that the economy is still in a rough patch. But for families already living on the edge, shopping for school supplies can also mean skipping a utility payment.

Which is why one of the most successful community initiatives for many Junior Leagues is the annual backpack event. It goes by different names. Book Bag Project. Back-to-School Fair.  League Locker. Stuff the Bus. But the goal is the same: to provide needy kids with the tools they need to do well when school starts in late August or early September.

  • For its 18th annual Book Bag Project, the Junior League of Annapolis will donate school supplies for more than 1,000 children at Title 1 schools in Anne Arundel County. Since the project’s inception, the JLA has filled backpacks for more than 16,000 children.
  • For the 11th straight year, the Junior League of Bryan-College Station’s Stuff the Bus School Supply Drive will provide free school supplies to children who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch programs in both the Bryan and College Station Independent School districts. Stuff the Bus hopes to provide school supplies to over 15,000 students this fall. And, together with its community partners, the JLBCS has distributed supplies to over 100,000 students since the project began.
  • For more than a decade, the Junior League of Saint Petersburg’s Back-to-School Care Fair has provided eligible children with physicals and immunizations as well as school supplies. At the event, families have on-site access to more than 50 community agencies that can provide information about the services available to families and children.
  • Since 1998, the Junior League of Champaign-Urbana’s League Locker has partnered with local businesses to supply thousands of dollars’ worth of school supplies to local schools for students who cannot afford the necessary supplies. Until 2009, JLCU volunteers stocked “lockers” to distribute directly to each school so teachers could access supplies as needed. In 2010, the program was expanded from lockers to a warehouse where teachers are invited to shop free of charge for materials.
  • Since 2000, the Junior League of North Little Rock has bought school supplies and collected school supply donations to be given to students whose families cannot afford them.
  • For the 6th year, the Junior League of Northern Virginia, in association with several community partners, is sponsoring Back-to-School Health Fairs in Alexandria, Herndon, and Leesburg for uninsured children in need of physicals, immunizations and school supplies to enter school for the first time.
  • At its 4th annual Back-to-School Fair, the Junior League of Arlington, with the support of community partners, local contributors and area volunteers, will provide new backpacks filled with school supplies to approximately 1,000 children. The JLA’s community partners will also offer helpful information to families about health-related services such as dental, vision and nutrition, and after-school care, mentoring and tutoring programs.