North Carolina woman starts nonprofit to help teachers with free backpacks of goodies during COVID-19 pandemic

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Sonya Battle, of Charlotte, founded The Teacher's Backpack to give back to educators in the Tar Heel state during the pandemic.

"I wanted to help teachers in a different way, them as a person," Battle said. "In our research, we found that a lot of them were disconnected from themselves. They deal with high levels of anxiety and depression. They need help, they need assistance. And so I thought, this is a resource just for our teachers."

The nonprofit is giving teachers, including those from the Triangle, free backpacks with items they can use in their classroom or for their own well-being.

"We have in here, what we like is the Amazon fire tablet," Battle said, as she showed ABC11 a backpack. "So these are nice quality gifts. That's why we say exclusive self-care for our teachers."

Battle showed ABC11 a book about mindfulness in the backpack. Other items included in backpacks are gift cards for restaurants and online shopping, to electronics, massages and spa services.

"I'm not a teacher, I do not have children," Battle said. "I do have nieces and nephews that are in school but I was greatly impacted by my teachers throughout my life in school. And I have teachers in my family and I had a chance to have some one-on-ones and just see what they're going through. My business mentor told me you can't pour from an empty cup and our teachers are consistently pouring and they're not getting what they need in their cup so we wanted to fill their cup up."

If you want to send a backpack to a teacher, you can go to the nonprofit's website and submit a request. A free backpack will be sent to the educator.

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Since launching Friday, Battle said they've already gotten at least 180 requests for backpacks, including for teachers in the Triangle. She said they want to take care of all the teachers whose names get submitted. The first shipment of backpacks will go out in December.

The nonprofit is accepting donations and requests to help more teachers.
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