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updated: 8/18/2020 7:21 PM

Two Vernon Hills companies donate backpacks, supplies to some 550 Waukegan students

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  • Video: Students receive backpacks


Two Vernon Hills companies helped take a financial burden off families at North Elementary School in Waukegan by providing about 550 students in grades K-5 with free backpacks full of grade-appropriate supplies.

The initial drive-through distribution began last week, but parents can still pick up the supplies this month. Virtual learning began Aug. 17 for students in Waukegan Unit District 60 schools.

Learning Resources and hand2mind announced in July they would provide the school with 600 backpacks containing school supplies, educational toys and resources. The two companies partnered with sister company Educational Insights and the Kids in Need Foundation to provide approximately $350,000 in product-based donations to the teachers and families this year.

North Elementary fifth-grade teacher Samantha Horwitz worked to promote the handout and said parents are very grateful with the generous offering.

"This donation is so important now more than ever. Waukegan is one of the most affected communities in Lake County regarding COVID-19. Our families are doing the best they can to provide for their families but we are all living during a hard time," Horwitz said. "Being able to tell families they don't have to purchase school supplies this year was amazing. It took a weight off of our families' shoulders."

Horwitz said these donations will set up students for success. She hopes others can spread similar kindness in their community.

"From everyone at North Elementary School, we are so thankful for everything hand2mind and Learning Resources have done for us. They do an amazing job spreading kindness, and it teaches our community that kindness comes first," she said.