Here is a group shot of most of the volunteers who came out to fill over 600 backpacks. Scott Landry

FARMINGTON — United Way of the Tri-Valley Area has recently wrapped up its 9th annual Packs for Progress initiative providing over 600 backpacks to local children. A major ‘stuffing event’ and ‘Be A Superhero’ Campaign Kickoff celebration was held at LEAP’s new addition on the Farmington Falls Road and was attended by over 100 volunteers, so excited to help that they waited in a line that went all the way to the street to stuff their next backpack. This United Way initiative is made possible with incredible support from our community, local organizations, and of course volunteers. This year, Platinum Sponsors of the program include The Dugout Bar and Grill, Franklin Savings Bank, Farmington Rotary, and LL Bean. Additionally, many local organizations hosted supply drives: Franklin Community Health Network did a school supply drive, collecting a massive amount of school supplies and backpacks. Poland Spring employees also did a school supply drive and brought down a truckload of items for the stuffing event. Supply drives were also held at Inch By Inch Preschool in Wilton, Big Lots in Farmington, UMF Faculty, and donations were made by many, many individuals.

The biggest reward in this program is seeing the children and hearing from case managers who share, “dropping off the backpacks, I feel like Santa…the kids are so excited to go through and see all their new school supplies”. One little girl shared that she “loved her ‘cool’ new backpack and now couldn’t wait for school!”

Volunteer, McKenna Ernest-Rother, age 5, carries several bags back to be organized for pick up day! Submitted photo

United Way thanks all the generous organizations, community members, groups, case managers and counselors who helped spread the word, as well as the community that gathered together to help us fill over 600 backpacks this year. YOU all stepped up to our ‘Be A Superhero’ challenge and have helped make an amazing impact in the lives of these children, as they start the school year with the tools to be successful.

For more information about United Way of the Tri-Valley Area, visit or call 778-5048. Like United Way on Facebook ( too, to be kept up to speed on programs and initiatives that are up-coming.

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