LYNDONVILLE -- Jodi Wheeler, director of Helping Other People Everyday - H.O.P.E. - announced that the non-profit organization has been chosen by Vermont Backpack Program Sponsor, Sen. Jane Kitchel, to receive colorful new "sackpacks" containing essential school supplies as part of the Foundation's 2012 National Backpack Program.

This Backpack Program is administered in partnership with the National Foundation for Women Legislators. The sackpacks will be made available to area children at the H.O.P.E. store located at 101 Depot St. in Lyndonville.

"It is critical that we ensure that all our school children have the supplies they need to succeed in the classroom and I am grateful to have this opportunity to have these sackpacks to give out to the families who need help in today's difficult economic times," said Director Wheeler. "As former Secretary of the Agency of Human Services, Sen. Kitchel is very aware of the plight of lower-income families, the importance of school success and the critical role community organizations such as H.O.P.E. play in addressing these needs."

Kitchel and her husband dropped off 75 of the sackpacks, new cloth back-to-school bags with drawstrings, not zippers, with pencil cases filled with supplies inside, which will be given free to children at H.O.P.E.

H.O.P.E. is a nonprofit agency devoted to assisting others in need of food, clothing, household basics and emergency packets. Last year, H.O.P.E. provided 510 area children with backpacks filled with food for the weekend. For many children, it is the sad reality that backpacks are needed to carry home both school supplies and food for when school is not in session.

This is the fifth year that Senator Kitchel has been the Vermont legislative sponsor of the Foundation's program.

The Office Depot Foundation has provided 300 sackpacks to be given to students throughout the Senate District. Over the past five years, 1500 local students attending 12 schools have benefited from this program.

In 2012, more than 15,000 sackpacks will be distributed by women elected officials in all 50 states. Senator Kitchel commends the Office Depot Foundation on its efforts to help children succeed by providing basic school supplies, which many of us take for granted.

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