University students and high school faculty collect backpacks for low-income children

By Olivia Spiers

SIU students and Carbondale Community High School faculty organized the first “Backpacks for Success” drive to provide backpacks to low income high school and elementary students.  

Donors can drop off backpacks or large tote bags starting April 3 through April 28 at CCHS or Longbranch Café & Bakery. Students with Circle K International, a Kiwanis-affiliated service organization, have created on-campus donation boxes at Morris Library and the Student Center, said Jenna Jamieson, a teacher at CCHS who has been collecting backpacks for low income children by herself for two years.

Jamieson said she saw children of all ages who were unable to afford “the basic necessity of a backpack” in her time working at the high school and elementary school in Carbondale.


She began buying backpacks in 2015 for local students and the Boys & Girls Club of Carbondale, but the demand for backpacks increased and became too expensive, which prompted her to start the backpack drive this year.

“Some kids are used to getting brand new backpacks every year — and some get none,” Jamieson said.

Jamieson said high school students also need backpacks for classes like driver’s education or government, which are offered during the summer. She said she hopes to raise at least 100 backpacks this month and plans to continue the drive in the future.

“This is something I love to do, and I encourage everyone to do it” Jamieson said. “It feels good to give back to your community.”

Staff writer Olivia Spiers can be reached at [email protected], 618-536-3325 or on Twitter @_spierso.

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