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High schoolers deliver backpacks to homeless
Forsyth County high schoolers helped pack almost 400 backpacks filled with essential supplies for the homeless in Atlanta. - photo by From staff reports

Recently, more than 100 local students sought to improve the lives of Atlanta’s homeless population.

On Friday, students and other volunteers with The Backpack Project, a local nonprofit run by students at the University of Georgia, took part in an event to deliver backpacks full of necessities to the homeless community in Atlanta. 

“We partnered up with a group of 130 high schoolers from across Forsyth County, who engage in a service project called Mercy Missions, where they do various service events, charitable events for the community in celebration of Easter,” said Nick Futrell, assistant executive director with the group. “Together, we packed more than 400 backpacks filled with food, clothes and toiletries, and then we distributed them to the clients of the Salvation Army and also the Atlanta Union Mission.”

Futrell said he believes the event gave students a chance to have “a hands-on, direct impact in the homeless community.”

“They each had a chance to sit down with various clients at the Salvation Army and make meaningful connections with them to talk about anything from sports to just their lives in general,” he said. “I think that’s something that particularly from Forsyth County, where homelessness is not a huge phenomenon as much as it is in Atlanta, that was maybe a new experience for a lot of the kids.”

The bags contain about 40 items, which Futrell said can be assembled for less than $20. 

Futrell said Friday was the largest event with a single group that members of The Backpack Project had ever held.

“It was very exciting for both us and the kids as well,” he said.

The group mainly targets the homeless populations in Atlanta and Athens. More information about the group, including ways to volunteer, is available at www.thebackpackproject.ngo.