COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Back to school is just around the corner and NBC4 is doing our part to make sure students in central Ohio are ready for their first day.

Thursday was our first Stuff the Backpack event of the summer held outside the CAS building on Olentangy River Road. The goal is to supply as many students as possible with school supplies. Dozens of people showed up to drop off supplies at Thursday’s event.

This is NBC4’s fifth year doing stuff the backpack and through the years it has grown to mean so much to families in Central Ohio.

“We went over to our local Target and shopped around and he picked up a Paw Patrol backpack because he knew someone would definitely love it,” Alexis Madden said.

Madden and her son Harrison made a day out of hand-picking supplies to donate to the cause. Madden wants her son to learn at an early age the importance of giving back to the community.

“I think it’s important to invest in education from a young age and anything we can do to inspire engagement in school is great,” Madden said. “And hopefully this backpack will inspire whoever receives it to enjoy their school experience.”

Stuff the Backpack provides school supplies to hundreds of thousands of students in Franklin and Licking counties. The purpose of the event is to take the burden off families’ shoulders and bring the community together through generosity.

“Stem is a bit in our DNA here at CAS and we want to do our part to eliminate any barriers to learning in Central Ohio. We want to do our part to provide every student in Central Ohio with a backpack and school supplies for the first day of school next month,” said Dr. Michael Dennis, the Vice President of CAS.

Educators and parents say to the kids these are more than just school supplies, they represent someone who wants them to succeed.

“So many of our students when they come on that first day they may not have all the supplies that they need. But to know that there is a backpack there if they need it, boy that really helps open those doors,” said Scott Varner, the Family Engagement Executive Director for Columbus City Schools.

If you couldn’t make it out to Thursday’s event there are still plenty of ways to contribute. You can make a monetary donation on our website.

Here is a list of drop-off locations. Plus, we have an Amazon wish list and if you purchase from there it will be sent directly to the united way of Central Ohio. We need as many donations as possible during these hard financial times.