Local youngsters get backpacks for free at store

Fulton residents are about to benefit from one of the largest national backpack giveaways ever. Between 100 and 150 backpacks filled with pencils, paper, a pencil box, folders, glue and more will be given away from noon to 2 p.m. today at the Cellular Connection, a Verizon retailer, at 898 S. First St.

More than 400 participating stores across the United States are inviting local families to bring their children to the store for the giveaway. Any leftover backpacks will be donated to local schools.

Fulton residents also have joined the cause. Since the beginning of May, store customers have been given the option to round their purchases up to the nearest dollar with the difference going directly toward the School Rocks Backpack Giveaway.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average person with children in grades kindergarten through 12 will spend $95.44 on school supplies such as notebooks, pencils and backpacks.

On top of that, nearly 16 million children in the U.S. live in poverty. In Oswego County, 24.5 percent of children live in poverty, according to a comprehensive community needs assessment prepared this year by the New York State Community Action Association.

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