Keesler Federal donates backpacks to coastal kindergarteners

Keesler Federal Credit Union once again is providing a helping hand to Mississippi Gulf Coast kindergarteners – and their families – through its Backpacks for Bright Futures program.

The credit union today distributed 6,100 backpacks and accompanying boxes of school supplies to 16 public school districts located in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River, Stone and George Counites.

Keesler Federal initiated the unique program in 2019 to help the first-year students start their academic experience on the right foot. Now just three years later the program has donated backpacks and school supplies to more than 20,000 kindergarteners.

The distribution was held at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum and Convention Center in Biloxi, with each district picking up the supplies at an assigned time. Each district will determine when to distribute the supplies to students.

“Strong communities all share one common trait – a commitment to education,” said Andy Swoger, Keesler Federal President and CEO. “Keesler Federal started Backpacks for Bright Futures as our commitment to helping these students, and also the communities in which we serve.

“We know the cost of school supplies can be a financial burden for many families, especially after the challenges of the past year. Backpacks for Bright Futures hopefully helps these families and also provides every student equal footing as they enter kindergarten.”

A parent purchasing a backpack and the supplies at a store would spend between $45 and $50 per child.

Keesler Federal team members helped load the thousands of boxes into vehicles. The supplies include a clear backpack as well as scissors, markers, construction paper, glue sticks, erasers, etc. And hand sanitizer to help keep students aware of personal hygiene and safety.

“As teachers, our goal is to give each student the best education possible and to help each student grow to their fullest potential,” said Stephanie Boney Holley, a teacher at Three Rivers Elementary. “Keesler Federal Credit Union has supported not only the teachers, but the students as well, for the past years by providing the necessary supplies to help make their kindergarten year a successful one.

“Keesler Federal has provided many of the tools needed to help each kindergarten student grow and learn, with no cost to the teacher or parent. Their outpouring of support for the classroom helps us, as teachers, feel supported. We appreciate everything they have done!”

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