With the proceeds of Operation Fill a Back Pack, school backpacks will be filled with much more than pens, pencils and notebooks. They will be filled with opportunities that were made possible due to the first ever fundraiser of its kind being held at the Crossings of Colonie on Wednesday, Aug. 12.
During the fundraiser, a local networking group and the Colonie Youth Bureau will be collecting money to purchase backpacks and supplies for families in need in the North Colonie Central School District and South Colonie Central School District.
The school supplies will be distributed to students during the CYB's before and after school programs, most likely during the beginning weeks of school.
The fundraiser, which will be held at the Crossings of Colonie from 3 to 7 p.m., will feature family entertainment such as a clown, human hamster ball and laser tag. There will also be pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream, popcorn, cotton candy and soda.
The event was the brainchild of Kelly Stamas, an associate broker with Realty USA. Stamas is involved with a business networking group called Get Connected 2. The group, which formed in January, meets every other week and is focused on ways the business people in the group can get involved in their communities.
But instead of simply meeting to keep talking about their businesses, Stamas said the group decided they wanted to hold their first community event.
Barbara Mahaney, senior youth specialist with the Colonie Youth Bureau, said Stamas had actually been working with the CYB for quite some time by donating school supplies to the children in need.
I don't think any kid should go to school feeling like 'I'm not going to fit in.' Or parents asking, 'How am I going to do this for my three kids,' Stamas said. "You know that there's a need everywhere. There are kids whose parents that have lost their jobs."
Stamas said her money-raising plan last year was quite simple.
"I just came up with this idea " I'm just going to call a bunch of my friends and ask them for $100," she said. "I raised $800 in less than four days."
The $800 helped fill 20 backpacks, with some money left over to buy school supplies for the classrooms, Stamas said.
"Increasingly, the kids do not have the school supplies they need," Mahaney said.
Donations can also be sent to the Colonie Youth Bureau at 20 Aviation Road, Albany 12205.""