Hundreds of students in local school districts will head to school in September well prepared for the challenges ahead, thanks to donations of school supplies, and a local business is leading the way in generosity.

Last year, KanPak gave 400 fully outfitted backpacks to school children in two area schools through the Milly’s Pantry programs. This year, Kanpak workers are doubling their gift to 800 backpacks distributed to four school districts.

Students in Penn Yan, Dundee, Bath, and Geneva School Districts will benefit from this year’s KanPak donations, valued at $10,400.

Back(pack) to School is a backpack donation program of Milly’s Pantry that provides children in need with a backpack filled with essential supplies, so they can begin the school year ready to learn, do homework and participate in class.

Each backpack contains crayons, erasers, tissues, glue sticks, filler paper, washable markers, pencils, pencil cases, a ruler, scissors, a spiral notebook, and ear buds.

KanPak extended its giving to Bath and Geneva so the four districts where most of the company’s employees live will benefit from their generosity. KanPak, based in Penn Yan, employs 215 employees in Penn Yan who keep operations going around the clock, and 20 to 25 who are based in Dundee.

While the local program is supported by the Golden State Foods Foundation, most of the funds were raised locally by employees through a series of events such as bidding on a preferred parking space, Friday Jeans Day, a can drive, competitions between shifts, bake sale, craft sale, luncheon, elephant auction, and associate pledges.

Two hundred filled backpacks have already been delivered to Geneva and Bath School Districts and they will be given to students by school officials there. The Penn Yan and Dundee backpacks and supplies will be delivered to those schools next week in time for the Milly’s Pantry distribution events in each school. 

In 2016, the first time the company participated in the program, KanPak donated 100 backpacks with supplies.

“Providing these academic necessities to at-risk children promotes and encourages attendance as well as boosts self-confidence,” says Melissa Nolan, KanPak plant controller and GSF Committee Chair locally.

This school year, 26 GSF Foundation committees across the U.S. will donate 13,069 backpacks, bringing the total number of backpacks supplied over the years to 105,000.