Mission 500 and The New Jersey Electronic Life Safety Association (NJELSA), teamed up for the second year in a row during the NJELSA Annual Symposium, held March 11-13 at Harrah’s Atlantic City for a school backpack building event.
This year, however, was a bit different. The backpack build came in the wake of President Trump declaring a national emergency due to COVID-19.
Although the Mission 500 team was able to complete 400 backpacks filled with school supplies for the Atlantic City children, they were not able to personally deliver them. Instead, several people from the school district including Assistant Superintendent Sherry Yahn and Principal A. Davis picked up the backpacks and delivered them to the children at the Pennsylvania Avenue School in Atlantic City, right before they closed the school because of Covid-19.
The Mission 500 team included Ken Gould, NJELSA president and chair of Mission 500, Christine Higgins executive director of NJELSA, Christine Marzano, past president of the NJELSA and newly appointed North East Mission 500 chair, Pete Raymond, Lisa Chartrand, Linda Nolan, and Bernadette Gould.
Participants gathered and worked in unity to assemble the backpacks and write personal notes of encouragement and hope. Each backpack also included a binder, crayons, eraser, paper folders, a glue stick, markers, a notebook, pens, pencils, a ruler, and a sharpener.
“Little did we know that it was the last physical event for both NJELSA and Mission that we will do for months,” Gould said.
“The School Backpack Building Event was a meaningful experience that inspired all of us,” Marzano added. “As well, I know we put a smile on each of the children’s faces that received the backpack.”