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Angels come together to help students succeed in the classroom
Starting next week, students across the Gulf Coast will be heading back to class.
Many of them will go equipped with the chance at a brighter future because of you - the Angels In Our Midst.
"Every year I do it and wherever they have the van I go in and get school supplies and give it," said Patricia Suchy.
Every year so many of you have supported the Cram the Van project. You brought the priceless backpacks, the pencils, paper, crayons, calculators, glue, and notebooks. Whether it's a trunk load, a bagful or a single item, everything makes a difference.
The need is something those on the front lines of education see firsthand every day. Many teachers come out of their own pockets time and time again throughout the year to make sure their students have what they need to be successful.
"I love children and even though I'm retired, I keep my foot in the door," said retired teacher Romona Ford.
In Santa Rosa County, the number of public school children eligible for free or reduced lunch is roughly 45 percent.
That's up from just over 20 percent less than 10 years ago. In Escambia County, that number has risen to 65 percent.
That's a harsh reality that led many people to give.
"It's just a kind thing to do to pay it forward," said LaQuetta Glaze. "There's been so much kindness in my life that I want to take an opportunity to pay it forward."
Parents and grandparents used the day to teach children the value of giving and helping others.
A number of civic organizations and businesses made donations as an investment in the future of the community.
Then there are stories from those who gave because, at one time, these simple supplies were out of their reach and they have not forgotten the kindness of strangers.
"I wasn't particularly rich when I grew up, so I know the struggle of getting school supplies," said Bard Fleistad. "So, every time Cram the Van is going on, I feel like I have to donate something. Usually, it's a backpack and some school supplies. I know a child somewhere is gonna find use out of that."
Thank you, everyone, for helping the children.
Angels In Our Midst is sponsored by Nemours Children's Specialty Care.