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Junior Auxiliary packs backpacks for students

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The Junior Auxiliary of Hattiesburg is helping Pine Belt students start their school year off right. The Junior Auxiliary of Hattiesburg is helping Pine Belt students start their school year off right.
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

The Junior Auxiliary of Hattiesburg is helping Pine Belt students start their school year off right.

The ladies packed book bags full of school supplies Monday for their annual "Backpack Service Project." The supplies will be distributed to 1,200 students in the Pine Belt at the start of school.

"There's lots of kids who go the first day of school and have nothing," says project chairwoman Tonya Kay Atkinson. "We're very excited to know that these children are going to have a smile on their faces the first day of school."

A new addition to the project this year is the gift of new books for each student, thanks to a grant from Scholastic.

"We know that readers are leaders," says project co-chairwoman Sabrina McDonald. "When children receive brand new books and are able to take those books home and read them and have parents read to them, we're promoting that academic growth as well as the social growth that comes from exploring books and text and traveling to those places mentioned in different books."

This year's project will benefit students from twenty-two different schools in the Pine Belt.

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