The Wrangell Cooperative Association and Tlingit Haida Central Council have partnered for another year of backpack giveaways for families in need. The Council’s program serves 16 communities throughout Southeast Alaska, giving away about 2,000 backpacks.

WCA partnered with the Council to give away a portion of those backpacks in Wrangell. Tribal Administrator, Aaron Angerman, says this year’s participation grew compared to last year.

“Right now, it looks like about 113 backpacks, which is 20 to 25 more than last year,” said Angerman. “So we had a pretty good turnout. I think we’re going to have half the school district provided with backpacks.”

Don McConachie brought his grandson Connor to the giveaway.

Parents and kids gather to get free backpacks. (Aaron Bolton, KSTK News)

Parents and kids gather to get free backpacks. (Aaron Bolton, KSTK News)

“My grandson comes from a family of six, it works out very well for the family. By the time you start building up and doing it for six kids, four kids I should say, it’s a little expensive,” said McConachie.

Connor picked a bright blue Adidas bag. His brother and sister will also be getting backpacks, saving the family about $300.

“I would say on average, the backpacks are a $90 to $100 savings for each family,” said Angerman. “Some of the older kids, the backpack will cost a little more. So it’s probably skewed that way, but on average, it’s probably worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $100.”

The program gives away bags for all grade levels, each filled with all the school supplies kids need to begin the year.

“The older kids, paper, pencils, pens, binders, pencil sharpener,” Angerman listed off. “The younger kids are getting a little more age rated stuff such as crayons, Elmer’s glue, rulers in addition to paper and items like that.”

The school year begins Aug. 25.