Plan and Strategy

The Plan

Backpack Connections exist to be an effective, collaborative community effort forming "partnerships" with many entities in the Tuscaloosa County area to provide backpacks and school supplies to students with the most need in Tuscaloosa City and County Schools.  By pooling our physical, financial, intellectual and influential resources together we can service more of the need in our community while minimizing duplication.  Both the City and County School systems work as part of this effort by identifying those students with the most need.  The backpack distribution is for those who are pre-registered through the schools & other local community service organizations & churches. DHR, Tuscaloosa Housing Authority, Northport Housing Authority and T.O.P. also identify those within their respective spheres needing assistance. The names are cross referenced with the city and county schools lists to check for duplication. Families chosen from these lists are then notified as to where to pick up their supplies from a community distribution site before the start of the 2022-2023 school year.

The Goal

To provide backpacks FULL of school supplies to students in grades Pre-K through 12 in Tuscaloosa City and County Schools to help students show up to school on the first day PREPARED to LEARN! (2,000- 2,500 backpacks) 

The Strategy includes 3 distinct phases:

Phase 1 - Identify

Acquire names of the students with needs (parents sign a consent form for sharing of information)

School counselors identify and secure the names and documentation for these students.

DHR, Housing Authority, Churches & Social Service Organizations submit names

Phase 2 - Collection

The collection of supplies and/ or monetary donations to purchase supplies:

 Monetary Donations

Checks for donations can be made to: Backpack Connections (for charitable contribution) 

Apples for Education Campaign

Adoption of Red apples – Each Red apple represents a student. The needed grade level supplies are listed on each Redapple. (elementary, middle, high school)

Donations for Green apples – Each Green apple represents one dollar or more donated toward collection of supplies

University Mall–July 7th -18th

Volunteers needed to sit at Apples for Education table at Center Court 

Businesses, organizations & churches are encouraged to participate 

Supply Bins/ Supply Drives

Businesses, churches, organizations & individuals collect supplies

Area businesses place “Bins” in their stores for people to drop off supplies that they have purchased.

Area churches use "Bins" for collection or “adopt” students using the “Red” Apples and purchase supplies needed for that student’s grade level.  

Phase 3 - Distribution

15 Community Distribution Sites~ Easy access for parents

Supplies are organized according to grade level in our “store” (backpack assembly line)

Pre-registered students are given a backpack and supply list

Student must be with parent/guardian to receive backpack (unless other arrangements are made ahead of time)

Students are teamed up with a “helper” (backpack buddy) as they “shop” through supplies filling their BP with supplies.(This way they can “choose” their colors, etc.)

Other activities (food, games, entertainment, prayer) are offered on distribution day to make it a festive occasion…like a BIG Back-to-School Party!