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Project: S.O.S Donates Over 6,100 Backpacks



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Thousands of people were doing some last minute school shopping Saturday morning. But instead of making those purchases at a store they got in line outside of Whittier Middle School, where the supplies were being offered for free.

For nearly three decades, The Banquet has put on a special project called ‘Project Supply Our Students.’ The purpose is to make sure kids whose family cannot afford school supplies are stocked up for the first day of school.

Over 6,000 backpacks line the gym floor at Whittier Middle School for ‘Project: S.O.S.’

For 7-year-old Kyrin Fast Horse, who will be a second grader at Garfield Elementary School in Sioux Falls this year, it’s an exciting thing.

“It's cool because you don't have to pay,” said Fast Horse. “And if you pay it could be really hard to get because it could be so much money.”

And even at this young age, Fast Horse has got it right. In his superhero backpack, there is $30 worth of school supplies. His mom Holona Romero said knowing her son and her nephew Ryan, who she also takes care of, are set for the first day of school is one less thing she has fit into the family's budget.

“We have a really tight budget as it is. So for these guys to come together and do this for our families is really awesome,” Romero said.

Madeline Shields, the Special Events Coordinator for The Banquet, said they have put on this event for 27 years to help families just like Romero's.

“When school supply time comes, it’s just not an option for them,” Shields said. “They just don't have it in their budget. So that's why we put on this program because we know it is a tremendous help to these very grateful families.”

Shields said for a lot of the families that come to get school supplies, they make too much money to receive any kind of federal help. But at the end of day, it still isn’t enough to cover basic needs.      

“Thank you for buying these backpacks for us,” Fast Horse said.
 
As for Fast Horse, he is just excited to put these markers to use, preferably in math class.

Out of the 6,500 backpacks that were packed and ready to be donated, over 6,100 of them were given away Saturday. If your student is still in need of school supplies, The Banquet will continue to give them away throughout the school year.

All of the supplies were donated by the public at local stores, which then went to The Banquet.
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