By Kelsey Stewart, News Editor
UNO and five other area universities have partnered to donate to The Salvation Army and KETV’s Back to School Backpack Program.
Started in 1998, the backpack program distributes backpacks and school supplies to children whose families face economic hardships.
While many groups and organizations on campus host food drives, the Staff Advisory Council sought something a little different, so they chose the backpack drive as their community engagement effort.
This is UNO’s fourth year donating to the program. Each year the council chooses
a different item to collect. In the past, they’ve collected erasers, rulers and highlighters.
Kronschnabel, who works in Cashiering and Student Accounts, said she was shocked to see that Omaha’s childhood poverty rate is at 26 percent compared to a national rate of 22 percent.
Kronschnabel helped to organize the effort.
“This particular event made a tremendous amount of sense with regard to the fact that we’re an institute of higher education,” Kronschnabel said. “This is almost a prequel to what happens to you if you have all the right supplies as you start out as a child.”
This year, Kronschnabel and the Staff Advisory Council have a goal of collecting 2,000 rulers by May 24. So far, Kronschnabel said, they’re at 450.
The bookstore has been cooperative in the project, Kronschnabel said. Rulers can be purchased at three for $1 and donated in the bookstore.
“We would like to see UNO really stand behind this,” she added. “I’m hoping that the students see the value in this and that they jump on board.”
The first year of the collection, Kronschnabel said a student dug for nearly 10 minutes to dig up enough change for a donation.
“I think the students who really do get involved have hearts as big as gold,” Kronschnabel said.