The fundraiser's organizer says with domestic violence up due to coronavirus, he wanted to help Operation Backpack Children’s Foundation for his Eagle Scout project.By Kym Gable

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – At a warehouse on West Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh, KDKA’s Kym Gable caught up with a group of young volunteers on a mission.

Aspiring Eagle scout Tyler Lesh organized a massive fundraising campaign for the local non-profit Operation Backpack Children’s Foundation, or O’Backpack.

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“I learned that, due to COVID, domestic violence has gone way up, while supplies have gone down,” Tyler told Kym. “So I felt like that was the best option for doing my (Eagle Scout) project and the best organization to help.”

Because domestic violence often leads to broken homes, foster placement is often the result. So right now, the timing is vital.

Kelly Rohrich is the charity’s founder.

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“Our mission started in 2005, and we found out that children who go into foster care are not allowed to take anything with them personally, so they get taken to a home, most of the time with the clothes on their backs,” she says. “And we want to make sure they get a backpack filled with all the stuff any child would want to have.”

Tyler’s fundraiser is focused on back-to-school, with hundreds of backpacks filled with notebooks, pencils, snacks and other items.

“Our original goal was to do 100 backpacks,” said Tyler. “But we raised so much over, we’re actually doing 300 backpacks and then making a monetary donation to the organization.”

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