GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Parents of kindergartners in South Mississippi don’t have to worry about buying school supplies thanks to Keesler Federal Credit Union.
KFCU is donating enough backpacks and school supplies for every single kindergarten student at a public school in Harrison, Hancock, Jackson, Pearl River, George and Stone counties.
That includes 16 school districts, 64 schools and 6,200 students.
“It can be really sad when you go to kindergarten and you see some of the kids who come through and some kids have everything, and some kids don’t. And what we really wanted to do is create a level playing field, everybody should have the same chance," said Andy Swoger, president and CEO of KFCU.
Volunteers from Keesler Federal spent Wednesday loading boxes full of supplies and backpacks on to buses, vans and trucks from each school district.
“The Coast is one big family, so basically we’re giving back to family out here. It’s just amazing to be out here. It’s hot, but it’s worth it," said Kimberleigh Fairley.
“We are one big family at Keesler and we’re one family here with the community, so family helping family. It’s what we do,” said Pathina Lang.
Keesler Federal started reaching out to schools in December to find out what’s on their school supply lists. From there, it was months of work getting everything ready.
“It’s a lot, and we have a lot of volunteers, so I’m thankful for them. A lot has gone in to this, and seeing all this on the day of, it’s a lot we can do for the community, and I’m so glad we can be a part of it," said KFCU financial education specialist Anthony Abella.
All of that hard work is fully appreciated.
“Anybody who goes in to a Keesler Federal should thank them, because if you’re going to change a community, education is the way to do it," said Sandy East with Gulfport School District.
Teachers will give students their backpacks at orientation or on the first day of school.