Backpacks for Kids
The Tom Fennessy/Mike Harden Back -To-School Project was initially created to ensure kids living in homeless shelters had school supplies. It was named in recognition of two Columbus Dispatch Newspaper Columnists who knew first hand what it means to struggle. At its inception in 1998, the organization was able to donate over 365 backpacks filled with necessary supplies. In 2020, the project filled 10,800 backpacks with basic supplies for students from low-income families, grades K-12, without regard to race, religion or gender. This was achieved in conjunction with 65 social service agencies, churches, schools and community groups who help disseminate the backpacks to those most in need throughout central Ohio, through the generosity of numerous loyal contributors, and because the organization remains solely comprised of volunteers meaning the administrative costs are less than 1% of the total budget. Thus over the past 23 years, the Tom Fennessy/Mike Harden Back to School Project has distributed 160,000 backpacks to students who otherwise might not have been able to start off their school year with the necessary materials they needed.