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Appalachian’s AppKIDS service project benefits 90 area children

BOONE—School supplies, clothing, backpacks and smiles were all part of the annual AppKIDS shopping day sponsored by Appalachian State University’s Staff Senate.

View larger imageView larger imageStudents from the Living Learning Center at Appalachian State University helped pack backpacks with school supplies and other items for children in Watauga County as part of Staff Senate’s AppKIDS project. (Photo courtesy of Cathy Ziegler, Staff Senate)

For the past 32 years, AppKIDS (Appalachian Kindness in Donations and Service) and Staff Senate, with the assistance of generous donations from university faculty, staff and others, has helped ensure that area school children receive much-needed winter clothes, shoes, school supplies and other necessities.

This year, more than $15,750 was contributed to the project, including $4,000 from Board of Trustees Chairman Michael A. Steinback and $1,000 from a staff employee who chose to remain anonymous. These contributions provided funds to take 90 Watauga County children, from kindergarten to 12th grade, shopping for clothes and to start a reserve for next year’s shopping trip.

“We are incredibly grateful to Mike Steinback for his donation and in awe of the anonymous SPA employee who donated $1,000 to the program,” said Cathy Ziegler, past chair of Staff Senate and AppKIDS committee member. “These contributions helped us surpass this year’s funding goal.”

The children were accompanied by university volunteers who picked them up from their school, took them to breakfast and lunch at the Broyhill Events Center, and served as their personal shopper for the day.

More than 125 university employees assisted with the project, serving as shoppers, drivers, greeters or check-in table and backpack volunteers. Students from Appalachian’s Living Learning Center helped pack backpacks.

Twelve area stores provided discounts to the AppKIDS program, enabling children to get the most for their $175 allotment.

“We try to make the day enjoyable for the children and teenagers, and I love seeing both the adults and children with smiles on their faces throughout the day,” Ziegler said. “As the day wound down, I asked my assigned child what one or two items she was especially happy to receive that day. She said, ‘Oh, it was all so wonderful. I love the jacket and the snow boots, and I love the leggings and cute undershirts and the shirt and pants combo, and the comfy pajamas. I can’t pick just one or two. I love them all. I’m so happy.’”

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