SCRANTON — It’s nearly Back to School time. Almost time to hit the books again. What better way to carry those books than with backpacks. Unfortunately, underprivileged families can’t afford backpacks for their children. But fortunately, volunteers from Parker Hill Church have been supporting Lackawanna College’s R.O.C.K.E.T. (Registrar’s Office Connecting Kids with Educational Tools) Project by donating more than 1,500 backpacks.
“This is our third year,” said Jared Brandon, Parker Hill’s communications director. “Each year, it gets bigger and bigger. It’s great to see the church community reach out to the broader community and demonstrate love and compassion.”
On Wednesday, Aug. 15, many volunteers gathered in front of Lackawanna College to transport the backpacks from the back of a trailer to inside Tobin Hall.
“It’s a good way to help the community realize that Jesus loves them,” said eight-year-old Audrey Dilullo, of Eynon, who was among the many volunteers from Parker Hill Church.
Other volunteers included the Lackawanna College football team.
“I enjoy helping out with the community,” said football player Elijah Moore. “If it has to do with kids, I’m always down for it.”
Another player, Anthony Brinson, was also glad to assist with the project.
“I enjoy giving back to the community to those who don’t have and helping out any way we can,” Brinson said.
Lackawanna College head coach Mark Duda was proud of his team for participating in the project.
“When they realized it’s for children, they stepped up like an army. We’re always proud of them.”
Dr. Sharon Nazarchuk teaches social sciences to some of the football players in Tobin Hall, where the backpacks were placed until delivery.
“As big as they are, that’s how nice and respectful they are in the classroom,” he said.
The backpacks filled the room in Tobin Hall. They will be given to many schools in the district and also satellite centers including ones in Hazleton, Sunbury, Towanda, New Milford, and the Lake Region area. Backpacks were also distributed to Friends of the Poor, Angel’s Attic at the United Neighborhood Center, Keystone Mission, Women’s Resource Center, and Seven Loaves Soup Kitchen.
The R.O.C.K.E.T. program was started by the registrar’s office at Lackawanna College.
“This is one of the most fun days we have,” said Theresa Scopelliti, registrar of Lackawanna College. “We’re able to see the kids faces when they receive them. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.”
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