It didn't take long for the faces of children, and even teenagers, to widen with smiles of joy as they received backpacks filled with school supplies Monday afternoon.
Hundreds of families stopped in at Community Action Partnership of Scott, Carver & Dakota Counties' Shakopee office to receive the free backpacks.
"Project Student Success," as the agency has dubbed the program, will give away more than 700 backpacks to families in its service area.
"It's not my first time," Zakiya Hussein, a mother of five, whose youngest will attend Head Start this year of attending a CAPSCD backpack giveaway. "This is really helpful. I have a bunch of kids and it saves a lot of money. I appreciate it. This is great."
Deseree Lohnes of Shakopee heard about the giveaway on television. She received a backpack for her 12-year-old.
"This is very important," Lohnes said of the giveaway. "They do a lot for the community, for Shakopee. I use the food and clothing shelf, too."
When Marima Kozhevnikov signed her children up to play soccer through the agency, staff told her about the backpack giveaway. Her three children were able to get backpacks.
"Well, I get to save some money and get other stuff for the kids," said Kozhevnikov of Shakopee.
Before the CAPSCD staff and volunteers began handing out the backpacks at 3 p.m. Monday, they had already given about 100 away to families who used it food shelf program. An additional two hundred backpacks will be handed out to Head Start students when classes begin.
"The community came together to help the community," CAPSCD Community Program Manager Maritza Real said.
The United Way donated 500 backpacks and the community donated others through an Amazon donation page. Calculators, mechanical pencils, notebooks, highlighters, Post-It Notes, Sharpies and other school supplies were also donated.
Real said next year, she's like to be able to supply high school students with much-needed graphic calculators in their backpacks.
"I'm happy with the turnout," she said as she watched the filled backpacks land in the hands of students who needed them. "We're learning, growing and getting better each year."
The agency takes schools supply donations throughout the year. Lean more about CAPSCD’s programs at capagency.org.