FLINT, MI – Pack Your Back, a nonprofit organization committed to improving the educational experience of disadvantaged students by providing them with tools and resources, will be hosting its third yearly Stuff Your Stocking event on Saturday, December 21, 2019 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The event will be held at Ballenger Fieldhouse, located on Mott Community College’s campus. Pack Your Back will be providing things like school supplies, backpacks, and stockings full of toys for up to 1,000 Flint area-students. The idea is to give kids the support they need to start the second half of the school year on the right foot, said organizers.

Nestlé Waters North America, who contributed to last year’s event, underwrote the costs for nearly 4,000 toys for this year’s event. Founder and Executive Director of Pack Your Back, Galen Miller, thanked Nestle Waters for their donation.

“Without their support, this event would not be possible and we wouldn’t be able to make the impact that we’re making in [children’s] lives in Flint,” Miller said. 

While hopes are high for this year’s event, Miller says that they only have about 75 volunteers — less than half of the support they had in the previous year. “We’re really looking for a lot more help with [the] event to make it more successful.”

Pack Your Back was conceived in 2016 after Miller, a freshman at Central Michigan University at the time, was volunteering with his fraternity.

“We did the water distribution and I just kind of saw the need in the community and wanted to continue helping out, so I did some brainstorming on how we can continue helping the residents of Flint,” he said.  Considering the impact that the water crisis has had on local childhood development, Miller said he wanted to be able to help students succeed in the classroom by gifting them with backpacks and school supplies.  

“When we started this thing, I would’ve never guessed that it would have gotten to the point where it is today. Our first year we were only helping about 100 students and giving backpacks and school supplies, and this year we’ve done a whole bunch of programs,” said Miller. “Last year, specifically, was the year where we just went through a massive growth spurt. We were able to help out 25,000 students and reinvest half a million dollars into the residents of Flint.”

Students K-12 can register for the Stuff Your Stocking event on Friday, December 20th between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., and Saturday, December 21st starting at 8 a.m. at the Mott Community College Event Center. Registration is on a first come, first serve basis. Those looking to volunteer can email info@packyourback.org.

Ramona Watson is a 23-year-old Flint native with a love for art, culture, and the written word, as well as a keen interest in learning more about Flint not only as a city but as a community. Ramona graduated...