Tribute to the National Foundation for Women Legislators

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Tribute to the National Foundation for Women Legislators



Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ms. WATSON. I would like to congratulate the National Foundation for Women Legislators for working to distribute thousands of backpacks filled with school supplies in every U.S. State and Puerto Rico.

These backpacks have been donated by Office Depot and are being distributed to at-risk and disadvantaged youth. As lawmakers we introduce and pass legislation every year that affects our Nation's youth. We talk about statistics and reading performance and free lunch programs, but we do not talk enough about ensuring that all students have the school supplies they need to perform both inside and out of the classroom.

Office Depot's National Backpack Program, now in its seventh year, is designed to make a difference in communities across the country and put backpacks in the hands of underprivileged and ``at-risk children so they have the tools they need to start the school year. Beginning in 2001 with 80,000 backpacks donated nationwide, the program has expanded to deliver 100,000 backpacks in 2002 and in 2003 and 2004, the program was increased to 200,000 backpacks containing school supplies. In 2005, the program grew to 300,000 backpacks with school supplies and finally, in 2006, 300,000 backpacks were again donated by Office Depot across North America and in Puerto Rico, totaling more than 1 million backpacks in the hands of children since the inception of the program.

Sadly, there are hundreds of thousands of children who can not afford the basic supplies they need for school. This backpack initiative not only alleviates some of the financial burden from the many single- family households that are stretching their budget and have enough to worry about paying for food and bills, but it also allows their children to have the pride of being able to start the school year the right way.

I am proud to say that 1,000 backpacks will be delivered to the Bradley Elementary School in my home district. I ask all of my colleagues in this United States Congress to join me in recognizing the National Foundation for Women Legislators and their partnership with Office Depot, whose efforts to empower our children and provide them the tools they need to be successful in school and in life are to be commended.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).