Crissy Testa, Mr. Davis and Ms. Akridge of Carl Wilde, and Kristen Grills celebrate the gift of backpacks.

To walk in the doors of Carl Wilde Elementary, IPS School #79, you’d be surprised to find a child walking around without a smile on her face. Especially on the first day, even in a school where every child qualifies for the free breakfast and lunch programs. We were delighted to bring an even brighter smile to the faces of over 300 students today: by giving each a backpack preloaded with paper and more.

The backpacks came from a back to school drive sponsored by Huntington Bank, which last week provided us with 450 backpacks to give to kids in need. After giving some to the kids who attended our summer day camp in the city and those who were staying at our domestic violence and homeless shelters, we picked School 79, a school that’s filled with caring kids who certainly need the first day boost. And for school principal Joyce Akridge, the boost couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We try to be invitational, to let the families [of the students] see how caring we are,” said Akridge.  “This will go a long way toward making that clear. We’re so grateful.”

It’s our pleasure, especially when we can share the generosity of our partners like Huntington Bank and our neighbors who support what we do at The Salvation Army. If you would like to help kids in need of school supplies in your community, donate here and specify School Supplies under ‘specific use’.

Read more about Huntington Bank donation last week and about School 79 here at