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Daily News Publisher Laura Welborn helps Malakai and Kkaylie McCue choose the backpack they want to start their school year off the right way. Backpacks are still available at the GDN office at 135 S. Franklin Street in Greensburg.

GREENSBURG – Most school age kids in the county go back to school within the next two weeks. With COVID-19 still raging, the final details of their schooling are still being hammered out. But this year and for nearly 15 years, the Daily News has rounded up a long list of sponsors who have made sure a backpack and a collection of much needed school supplies was a definite.

The adage “it takes a village to raise a child” is true. And no one knows that better than Natalie Acra.

“We estimated that the need for backpacks/supplies would increase this year because of unexpected loss of income associated with COVID. Some adults have lost their jobs entirely or now have reduced hours and income,” Acra said.

Every year, shortly after summer begins, Acra and the GDN staff start gathering. In the large room behind the newsroom, Acra pools supplies from all the generous vendors in town. Stacks of notebooks and loose leaf paper, crates of pencils, piles of pencil boxes, boxes of binders, caches of crayons and markers, and tons of Kleenex tissue boxes all clutter the room that is the Daily News “morgue.” Acra almost single-handedly packs each backpack with the appropriate goodies, and lays them in neat piles, separated by children’s ages and grade levels.

It’s such a labor intensive job, Acra has even drafted her three school-age children to help.

But this has been a tougher year than any to meet the needs of children returning to school.

“We’ve watched the children picking up backpacks for a couple of weeks now and it’s a good feeling these kiddos have knowing they have the supplies they need to get their school year off to a great start,” Acra said.

HMIN (Honda Manufacturing of Indiana) has supported the effort for many years now. This year, they contributed challenging their own employees to give.

“They had a school supplies drive. They donated 150 back packs, and $5,000 to help with everything. We couldn’t do this without their help and we are so grateful,” Acra added.

Honda’s Corporate Affairs Representative Yolanda White said, “Supporting the school supply drive is something our associates have let us know they love doing to help children in our community return to school with the tools they need.”

“Our goal as a company has always been to be a good neighbor and to support the communities around us. It’s something our associates are passionate about and it’s something we are proud of. It feels good to give back and to do our part,” White said.

If you’ve registered but haven’t picked up your school supplies yet, they are available until August 8. Call 812-851-0884 for more details.

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-663-3111, ext 217011 or email bill.rethlake@greensburgdailynews.com

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-663-3111, ext 217011 or email bill.rethlake@greensburgdailynews.com

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