Eight hundred children received backpacks filled with school supplies this week to start off the school year.
Kenneth J. Allen, of the Kenneth J. Allen Law Group, sponsored a six-week Ken4Kids Back to School Drive in which residents could donate supplies at 22 local Strack & Van Til and Ultra Foods stores.
Allen donated the 800 backpacks and school supplies including pens, markers, rulers and lunch bags.
Allen was on hand Wednesday and Thursday at Central School in Portage and Lincoln School in Hammond to hand out the backpacks.
"Remember you have to do well in school and then you will succeed in whatever you do," Allen told the children.
Debra Dudek, director of Title and Special student programs with Portage Township Schools, was excited about the backpacks.
"I appreciate what you are doing for our kids," said Dudek to Allen. "There is nothing more exciting than new school supplies to children."
Allen's father never finished school and he made a promise to him that he would finish school and help other families who are in similar situations.
"It's up to all of us to do what's necessary to help, especially those less privileged, succeed in school," Allen said.
Ryan Eckart, principal at Lincoln School, said this is great news for his students.
"This is fantastic because we have so many families that either don't have transportation or have the capacity for everything for the students," he said. "So the students getting backpacks is exciting and the students will be exited to receive them and they'll know that others care for them."