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Charlotte students who are homeless receive free school supplies at backpack giveaway

A Charlotte-area nonprofit says many families are living out of hotel rooms, and children face peer pressure when they return to school.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Students whose parents can't afford back-to-school supplies received free bookbags stuffed with supplies in Charlotte Saturday. The event was organized by Champion House of Care Project One, a nonprofit helping families who deal with homelessness. 

"You’re living in a hotel and you don’t have pens, you don’t have paper," said Janette Kinerd with Champion House of Care, "But if you can go get those things and go back to school, it relieves that peer pressure.”

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There are nearly 1,300 families who are homeless in the Charlotte area, according to the Mecklenburg County Housing and Homelessness Data. Kinerd says the need has gotten worse during the pandemic, especially in the Hidden Valley neighborhood of Charlotte.

“Since the pandemic came, our kids haven’t really had food or clothes, so we go out and we get donations," Kinerd told WCNC Charlotte. 

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On Saturday, the organization set up a bookbag giveaway on Reagan Drive in the Hidden Valley neighborhood of Charlotte. There were more than 2,500 bookbags stuffed with supplies to give away, as well as school uniforms, food and games. 

“It’s a hunger out here in the Hidden Valley community," said one woman with the nonprofit NC COVID Relief Team. "And that’s why we’re out here today – to be of any assistance that we can be.”

Champion House of Care Project 1 is available to help families, but it also needs donations. You can contribute on its website.

Contact Indira Eskieva at ieskieva@wcnc.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.