NKY students provided backpacks by Covington charity program

Published: Aug. 14, 2021 at 8:20 PM EDT
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COVINGTON, Ky. (WXIX) - This weekend, Northern Kentucky students from low-income families are getting a chance to pick up backpacks through Backpacks and Breakfast at Be Concerned, a free food pantry in Covington.

The breakfast part is included this year thanks to gift cards from Frisch’s, and the event overall is in its 21st year.

Through school supply drives at more than ten organizations and the work from Be Concerned, this is a record-setting year for the two-day event with 1,130 backpacks distributed. Typically, the number is around 900 backpacks.

“We attribute part of the increase to the pandemic. There are still a lot of people hurting, whose jobs have not come back, that sort of thing. So, there’s just a lot of folks out there that are in need,” said Development Director at Be Concerned Paul Gottbrath.

Making the event run smoothly, organizers say, is the group filling backpacks combined with the ones directing people safely through this drive-thru format. About 70 volunteers are on-site.

“The traffic this year is going to present a little extra problem because in the afternoon it’ll be backed up, up the hill, because of the project on the Brent Spence to paint the bridge, so people looking for another way to get around that are going to be piled up over here. That’ll be a bit of a challenge, but we’re ready for it, I think,” said Gottbrath.

Families are driving into the parking lot at the location on Pike Streets, and as they stay in their cars, volunteers take down their information before getting it to runners who are completing the order for each backpack.

Families had to complete their registration by July 31, so every family picking up a backpack and gift card has an appointment.

”They should have registered for the event, and they should have heard from us that they were confirmed as a recipient in the event because we had maybe 200 kids who we were not able to select in the lottery. We had a lottery because we had more kids than we had backpacks,” Gottbrath notes.

Families from Boone, Campbell and Kenton Counties are benefitting from the program.

Gottbrath said any family that did not get into the lottery can call Be Concerned August 16 in the afternoon at 859-291-6789 to find out what resources may be leftover.

Backpacks and Breakfast continues Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the same location, 1100 Pike Street in Covington.

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