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Backpack Beginnings helping Greensboro children after schools destroyed by tornado

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Hundreds of Guilford County students have finished their first week in new schools.

Hampton Elementary, Peeler Elementary and Erwin Montessori students will finish the school year at different schools because their buildings were destroyed by tornado damage.

BackPack Beginnings was already making sure some of those kids had enough to eat, but since the tornado hit Greensboro, the group has stepped-up even more.

BackPack Beginnings has been providing food and other items to children in need for years.

“Our main focus is Guilford County. We are serving over 6,000 children annually. About half of those we are sending home with food every weekend both through the school year and during the summer and then the other half we provide hygiene products, clothing [and] comfort backpacks,” founder Parker White said.

The need has increased since the tornado affected students in Guilford County.

“The school system reached out to us and asked us to feed every child at Hampton Elementary and every child at Peeler Elementary the next few weeks, so we have been doing that,” White said.

BackPack Beginnings was already feeding students at Hampton and Peeler, but with the recent request from Guilford County Schools, the number has increased to close to 600 children.

About 297 Hampton students are being fed along with 291 Peeler students.

Shirley Thompson volunteers every week at BackPack Beginnings and enjoys making a difference.

“I really do. It makes me feel alive more to know that everybody is willing to do all of this,” she said.

“It's been amazing to see the response. We are overwhelmed,” White said.

There will be an ongoing need for volunteers and donations, including hygiene products and clothing.

To find out how you can help, visit the organization’s website.