COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – School districts are starting to pick up boxes full of backpacks and school supplies to bring back for their students.

NBC4’s Stuff the Backpack drive is working to make sure every student in Franklin and Licking counties has a full backpack for the start of the school year. 

On Tuesday, New Albany-Plain Local Schools picked up its backpacks. According to Patrick Gallaway, director of communications for the school district, about 500 students could benefit from the drive.

“The zip code doesn’t really always matter what that student might be going through,” Gallaway said.

Last year the Stuff the Backpack drive supported one school district. When it was expanded this year to support all 25 districts in Franklin and  Licking counties, Gallaway said New Albany was excited.

“Oh we jumped at the chance,” he said. “I think it’s amazing to see everything that’s been gathered and donated.”

He says getting a backpack to a student who needs one benefits both the student and the student’s family. 

“Number one, the kid will be very excited and probably light up,” he said. “There’s so many other pressures that they may be having to deal with at the start of a school season, but to know their student will come to campus prepared for success and have the materials they need, that’s really important to us as a school district.”

On the same day New Albany was picking up its backpacks, the Newark girls soccer team volunteered filling more backpacks. 

“I just thought it was the perfect opportunity to get my kids to help and volunteer and understand the importance of volunteering,” said Daniel Logan, strength and conditioning coach for the team. “It just gives me that extra time to bond with them that’s not in the weight room.” 

NBC4 is accepting donations until the end of the month. Information about drop-off locations can be found here