Each year as the summer comes to an end, the staff at United Way of Pierce County and the Volunteer Center gear up for the annual Back 2 School supply drive. Backpacks begin to pile in, stuffed full of school supplies, and excitement grows as donations arrive. This year's campaign was successful thanks to generous donors, and the volunteers who gave their time to build the backpacks. This year’s Back 2 School campaign included hundreds of incredible donors and volunteers and dozens of local companies. Ernie Music was one of those donors – he inspired us and exemplified what it means to LIVE UNITED.Ernie is a decade-long friend and supporter of the United Way of Pierce County's Back to School Campaign. His commitment to the campaign is rooted in his experiences as a child starting the school year off feeling like "something was missing" because he did not have everything off of the school provided list. Ernie generously donates $500 every year so that children of limited means have the tools they need to succeed and they feel accepted. He says, "I wanted to give them something, say something, be their friend, or do all these things - I wanted them to feel accepted. Accepted not for what they did not have, but accepted for the person they were and would become." Ernie is an example of all who fight for children and the education they deserve. He noted that, while his donation may not "fix the problem", it might make a few more children want to go to school, want to learn, and maybe grow up to help society improve, instead of becoming more of the problem.
For some, the Back 2 School supply drive is a team effort. The team at General Plastics in Tacoma has made the Back to School a company wide effort and competition between departments. This is General Plastic’s second year participating in the drive and this year the team collected and assembled $8,130 worth of school supply-filled backpacks for Pierce County kids.Thank you to all of the donors, volunteers and local companies who participated in the 2013 Back 2 School campaign! For the kids who receive the backpacks it means more than just having the supplies they need for school; it is about feeling accepted and ready for success. Your kindness and generosity are an inspiration – thank you!