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Packs With Love outfits needy students with necessities: backpacks and supplies

Two young girls from Danville remind us how to carry valuable weight on our shoulders by volunteering to improve school experiences of other needy students.

I remember when my last few days of summer meant I would be scrambling with other students and their parents. It was time for back-to-school shopping and I wanted a new JanSport backpack. I usually got it, as did most of my friends. Moral: It’s nice to be blessed. And, the two young girls from Danville, Madison and Mackinsey Mascali, know this, too.

In fact, they’ve decided to act on this knowledge by starting their own project, Packs With Love. Essentially, the girls have been seeking out old, often retired-from-duty backpacks from other students and families who were fortunate enough to be able to replace them and afford them in the first place. The backpacks are then filled with supplies and donated to students who need them, this year, at four different places: Richmond School District, Shelters Inc., Team Challenge and Open Arms Ophanage. All monetary donations go towards pencils, notebooks and other standard school supplies.

Currently ages 12 (Madison) and 9 (Mackinsey), the girls were initially inspired to start this project when they were passing by a school in Richmond, where they saw kids walking home with their supplies under the arms, not comfortably stored on their backs. This year, they hope to collect 400 backpacks, which are to be stuffed with school supplies for other needy students.

Perhaps age really is just a number.

To help out, e-mail packswithlove@yahoo.com to organize a drop-off or donation.