North Naples seniors contribute school supplies to youth in need

A North Naples senior living community is looking out for today’s youth and making sure they are prepared to start the school year, contributing time and money to “Operation Backpacks.”

This year, Vi at Bentley Village volunteers packed 157 backpacks full of new school supplies for children in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Jeannette Vogt loves knowing every item she grabs and puts in a backpack will be going to one Southwest Florida student about to start school.

“I’m 80, and I hope that I live many more years, so I can do this, said Vogt, a Bentley Village resident. “Because I’m helping kids to go to the first day of school … So many just don’t have the basics.”

Sarah Meierdiercks, lifestyle coordinator at Bentley Vi, is the organizer for the backpack giveaway. She said they have been providing the event for 10 years, and it continues to grow on an annual basis.

“The reward is really seeing our residents being so overjoyed to give back to the community,” Meierdiercks said.

Backpacks stuffed at the event will be distributed through local organizations, including the Collier County Coalition for Hunger and Homelessness and the Guadalupe Center.

“The parents of our children are very hardworking,” said Kelly Hammer, director of community engagement at Guadalupe Center. “They just don’t have extra money, so my favorite thing is to give our kids brand new things.”

Reporter:Melinda Lee
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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