April 6th, 2022
When students and staff at Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School in South Burlington, Vermont first learned about Operation Backpack4Kids, they sprang right into action. Within a week they had their first backpacks collected. Students, along with teachers Elisabeth Siddle, Amelia Lutz, guidance counselor Yvette Amblo, and students from the Peer Leadership Group, coordinated the incoming bags, laboriously checked them for proper contents, tagged them for shipment, and delivered them to the next stage of the process.
Once the backpacks were ready, they were delivered to the home of local airline pilot and Independent Pilots Association member, Erik Copeland. There, a separate team performed a thorough security check of each bag and a final quality assurance review. Backpacks arriving from other sources were also processed from scratch.
After a long, multi-week process the bags were finally ready for delivery to Louisville.
Following a long drive with cringeworthy gas prices, the backpacks were finally dropped off in Louisville for the next step of their journey. A big thank you to Dave Schmitz for warehousing these bags and many others in his hangar at Bowman Field in Louisville, KY. The bags will stay there until they are shipped to Germany later this month via our FedEx shipping partners. Once in Cologne, the backpacks are slated to be distributed in Germany, Poland, and possibly other locations as needs dictate. We will, of course, be covering all this in future updates.
We cannot thank the students and staff at Frederick Tuttle Middle School, the house team of volunteers, the students and communities of Bristol and Williston VT (who contributed a lot of backpacks themselves), Zach and the individuals who arranged the rental truck, the OB4K volunteers in SDF, and everyone else who participated to make this monumental project happen. None of this could take place without YOU!!
Local news station WCAX covered this story. Click here for print version.