Citizens National Bank of Texas employee Jackie Hill, her coworkers and other individuals  have taken it upon themselves to collect backpacks for every child at WISD’s Operation First Day of School.

“As volunteers at this year’s event, they saw children leave without a backpack. But with their work, it won’t happen again,” said Mike Lee, CNB executive vice president. “They’re not a formal group from the bank – there’s several in the bank and some individuals outside the bank. They simply saw a need and started acting on their own.”

Nicole Mansell, director of public relations for Waxahachie ISD praised the group for partnering with the school district to solve the problem of the shortage of backpacks.

“Backpacks are the one thing that we are usually short of – we always have plenty of school supplies, but backpacks are at least $15 - $20 and so we really need backpacks each year,” Mansell said. “I am very excited about the group from CNB helping

with Operation First Day of School.”

Cindy Smith, executive vice president of CNB, explained how the backpack initiative began.

“We were working our shift as volunteers at Operation First Day of School, and getting down toward the end, this family which had a kindergartner, a first grader and a high school student came through, and there were no backpacks,” Smith said. “It really brought tears to my eyes and I decided they couldn’t go home without the things they needed, so I told them to meet me at Walmart.”

Smith made sure the family was provided with the things they needed for their children in school.

Later, as several of the volunteers from CNB met at a restaurant, they discussed starting their own campaign to assist WISD in making sure there were enough backpacks next year.

“We’ve shopped all over town trying to find bargains on backpacks and clothes,” she said. “We’ve gone to Target, JCPenny, The Dollar Store, and everyplace else where we could find the backpacks.”

Smith noted that a receptacle will be placed in the downtown CNB four or five times a year to give the public the opportunity to contribute new or gently used backpacks.

“We’ve just had so much fun shopping all over town for these items,” Smith said. “And there are so many students – not just high school, but college students as well that could use a backpack.”

Jackie Hill, Chad Frideley, along with other CNB employees, have volunteered to help in the campaign.

“It has been remarkable how much has been done with just a handful of people,” said Hill. “We just want to lend support to the school district to make sure there are enough backpacks next year.”

For information about assisting in the backpack collection, call Smith at 214-803-0697 or Hill at 972-937-9919.

Contact Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com or 469-517-1450.