Hundreds grab stocked backpacks at Raleigh giveaway

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The Raleigh Rescue Mission held an event with plenty of supplies up for grabs (WTVD)

August is the time of year when many families start their back-to-school shopping, but for students and parents unable to afford the necessities, that shopping list can cause a lot of stress.

The Raleigh Rescue Mission stepped in to help on Saturday, offering backpacks full of supplies to students from low-income families. The group started collecting donations long before lines formed outside the non-profit organization's store and donation center.

"For about two months now, we collected in donations and in backpacks, over 600 backpacks, that we're giving away," said Lauri Para, who handles press relations for the Raleigh Rescue Mission.

The Salvation Army estimates there are more than 2,700 school-aged children in Wake County in need of assistance getting basic school supplies.

"For that child who shows up the first day, who doesn't have a backpack or a pencil, they just feel like they're already behind. It can really affect their confidence. So this way, giving them everything they're going to need for day one, they can start out feeling just as ready to learn as any other child in that room," Para explained.

This year's supplies went quickly, and high demand has organizers at the Raleigh Rescue Mission thinking ahead. The backpacks and supplies to fill them are already on the Mission's list of goals for the weeks and months ahead.

"We're gonna try to set a higher goal for next year," said Para. "We think that we can meet it, given that we've exceeded this one. Hopefully, maybe we can even double the goal for next year."

In addition to this backpack giveaway, the Raleigh Rescue Mission provides safe long-term and emergency shelter, nourishing meals, counseling, medical care, educational opportunities, job training, on-site preschool, and more.

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