PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Kids around the area will be heading back to school before we know it.

One local company is hard at work to make sure all children have backpacks for their books.

“People have been coming in in the morning, they have been coming in during lunch time and we’ve had an assembly line and as you know we have about 2,500 behind us on these buses,” Citizens Bank Commercial Lender Tim Murphy said.

This is the ninth year Citizens Bank has partnered with the Homeless Children Education Fund.

One of the big supporters of the effort is Sarah Keisel and her Pittsburgh Steeler husband, Brett.

“It creates an equal playing field for them — and having the things that a lot of other kids have that they can’t have and it makes them more confident when they go to school,” Sarah Keisel said.

Donation boxes at nearly 400 Citizens Bank branches have collected items since June.

For the past week, the items were stuffed into backpacks to be given to homeless children.

“It’s a very real need, and unfortunately it’s a growing need right now. There has been over a 50 percent increase in the number of homeless children in Allegheny County over the last several years,” Bill Wolfe with the Homeless Children Education Fund said.

A whopping 1,700 homeless children were enrolled in Allegheny County schools last year.

Now that the heavy lifting is done, the distribution begins as two buses make their way to 16 different agencies around southwestern Pennsylvania.


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