From the Green Mountains:

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.

Backpack counter at the school’s entrance
Students manning the bag collection desk!
Initial Backpack collection table – entirely operated by students!
Elisabeth S. with the first batch of backpacks

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.

Erik C., Yvette A., and Amelia L, picking up bags from the school.
First backpacks arrive for processing.
Marie Lallemand and Caroline Loison going through each backpack.
The Team: Marie Lallemand, Kristin Burgess, Caroline Loison, and Dominique St. Arnaud (& daughter) working their way through a sea of backpacks. Missing: Thomas Schmidt, Lylea Loison and friends, Amy, Aaron, and Mary-Beth.

After a long, multi-week process the bags were finally ready for delivery to Louisville.

Special Thanks to Zach!
Over 400 backpacks were collected!!
Bags departing VT.
And 15.75hrs later, they arrive in Louisville KY.
Bags arrive at Dave S.’s hangar. Dave S., Erik C., and Erick G.

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!!

Shawn H. delivers a load of VT backpacks to our Cologne Operations center.

Local news station WCAX covered this story. Click here for print version.

One thought on “From the Green Mountains:

  1. In the midst of all the horror we are witnessing in Ukraine, it made a very bright spot in my days to follow the involvement , excitement, and hard work of the students, staff and community on this project ! Great job by all involved !

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