Schoolbag success

Local police officers and volunteers donate new backpacks filled with school supplies to students in need.

Back to school in style: On Aug. 23, officers from the 8th Police District and members of the community handed out dozens of new backpacks filled with classroom supplies to local children. WILLIAM KENNY / TIMES PHOTOS

Officers from the 8th Police District and their community partners gave some local children a head start on the new school year on Aug. 23 as they handed out dozens of new backpacks filled with classroom supplies.

Members of the Police District Advisory Council joined in the giveaway at the 8th district station after partnering with officers to solicit donations of goods and money in support of the cause. Businesses including Mission BBQ and Walmart contributed to the effort, as did countless individual donors.

“It gets the kids excited about school and gives them a head start,” Capt. Adam Friedman, commander of the 8th district, said. “For us police, it builds a relationship with the kids at a young age. It helps set them on the right path.”

PDAC members and officers distributed fliers and conducted a social media campaign to spread the word.

“The neighborhood people were very generous,” 8th PDAC Trustee Jack Tolchin said.

John Long, 12, was one of the recipients. He is entering sixth grade at Baldi Middle School. His brother, Chase, 9, will use his new school bag as a fourth grader at Loesche Elementary School. Both boys recorded perfect attendance last year. John also won the President’s Award at his school, while Chase won a Most Improved Student award.

“They’re really nice,” John said. “I like the design and they’re big.”

Adrian Aleman, 5, got his hands on a new Batman-themed backpack, which matches his Batman sneakers. He is starting kindergarten at Decatur Elementary.

“It will help him transition into his new school,” Melinda Aleman, Adrian’s mom, said. ••