Published: Aug 14, 2013 3:36 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 14, 2013 5:54 PM EDT

LABELLE, Fla.- Employees at a Handy store in Labelle have used their own money to buy book bags and school supplies for children in need in Hendry and Glades counties. Public schools open in those counties next Monday, August 19th.

"This all came from our hearts. We want to tell our community that we appreciate their coming here, we appreciate their comments and their friendship," says Bonnie Irvello, a worker at the Handy store. "My motivation comes from my childhood, when we had nothing for back to school. I had 11 siblings, so we did not get new school supplies!"

"We need to give back. There is a saying, it takes a community to raise a child, and we are following that old saying," comments Mary Shoup, assistant manager at the store. "We did not hear of any other give-away in this area this year, so we decided, we will do it with our money."

For the past couple of weeks, Handy employees have pooled their own money, and have gotten as much as 800 dollars from the local community,  to buy 288 book bags.   They have large boxes of school supplies to stuff into the bags and back-packs.  But they still need more supplies:   Organizers tell WINK News they can take donated cash or supplies through this Friday.

The store will give away the items on Saturday, Aug, 17, from 10:00 a.m. til 2:00 p.m. The store is located on the north side of the Caloosahatchee river on state road 29. The event will be held in the store parking lot, and will also feature a clown and some sodas and hot dogs for people.   

"This really melts my heart, to do this and help a child in need, start school with the right supplies and a brand new book bag. We know that children can be cruel to those who don't have the same supplies or materials, and we do not want that to happen. There is a great need in this neighborhood, because so many parents have to decide: do we eat this week? Or, do we buy school stuff? We know they will decide on eating. So, we will supply the school materials for the kids," says Shoup.