Lehigh Valley

Salvation Army holds annual backpack giveaway

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - As the new school year approaches the Salvation Army of Allentown is helping to ease the stress of back-to-school shopping for some families.

There was a line wrapped around North 8th Street Thursday morning for the Salvation Army's backpack giveaway, an annual event that means a lot to some Allentown families.

"It's a blessing from God," said Yolanda Cruz from Allentown. 

"Big help, it helps a lot," said Shonda Daniels from Allentown. 

Now in its 15th year, the Salvation Army along with community partners handed out more than 750 backpacks to students stuffed with notebooks, writing utensils and other school supplies.

"We need the kids to be successful and this is the first step," said Major Lydia Mercado with the Salvation Army. 

Mercado says the giveaway not only helps kids start the school year off right but it also brings neighbors together.

"This is about strengthening our community, strengthening us as people, as one."

Volunteers helped students from first grade through high school pick the perfect backpack and the kids also got a little shopping help from MeLVin the mascot, making for a true community-wide effort to get the students stocked up and to help their families make ends meet.

"Those who have a little bit more, just sharing with those who have less, it's just that...love," said Mercado. 

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