Aug. 13—SUNBURY — One hundred and seven children will now be prepared for the start of school in the Shikellamy School District after a 2019 graduate was able to provide packed backpacks to students.
Emily Houtz, 20, of Northumberland, said she wanted to give back to Shikellamy. In 2019, she decided to collect donations in order to buy backpacks for students who couldn't afford them.
Then the pandemic hit, she said.
"When that happened it just wasn't the right time to get this done," she said. "So I waited and then this year decided to make it happen."
Houtz works at the Sunbury Community Pool and on Thursday she gave away the backpacks to families in need.
The backpacks were stuffed with school supplies, including pens, notebooks, folders, pencils, crayons and colored pencils, Houtz said.
"It has been a really difficult two years for children and their families," she said. "I wanted to do something to help struggling families in the school district as children are returning back to class. It proved to be a great success and a lot of kiddos and families walked away happy. I am wishing the best of luck to all students and teachers this school year."
Shikellamy Superintendent Jason Bendle said he was proud of the Shikellamy graduate.
"Emily (Houtz) is the perfect example of what we hope for our graduates," he said. "She showed she is caring and determined. She was able to provide these backpacks to students and we are thankful and so proud of her."
Houtz said she received donations from Weis Markets, The Sunbury Moose, The Goodwill Fire Company and the Sunbury Parks and Recreation Department.
"I just hope these are a help to students and now they are set for the start of the school year," she said.