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RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Raleigh teen Katie Ochoa celebrated her 17th birthday at the Raleigh Rescue Mission Tuesday. Her birthday wish? "Be a blessing to someone."
Instead of receiving gifts for herself, Katie asked family and friends to donate school supplies to fill backpacks for kids who can't afford them.
Her mother, Charlene, spread the word about Katie's birthday wish on Facebook and said contributions have been pouring in ever since.
So far, they have received 20 to 25 backpacks - with five of them all packed and ready to go. Boxes of crayons, markers, binders, notepads and more have made their way to the Ochoa's front porch in preparation for the back pack packing party at the Rescue Mission.
Vicki Redding, Director of Marketing at the Raleigh Rescue Mission said it was the first birthday/packing party they have had the privilege to host. She said it was "so neat to see someone so giving and compassionate and loving" like Katie.
Last year, the Rescue Mission set a goal of 500 backpacks and ended the summer with 1,200. This summer, their goal is 2,000 bags. With the bags packed by Katie and her birthday guests, they are well on their way to meeting that goal by August 12.
One of the most important messages Katie wants others to remember is "it is better to give than receive."
For more information on how you can get involved visit their website at: https://www.raleighrescue.org/backpacks/