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Rockford Police hand out free backpacks to boost kids back-to-school self-esteem

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — As summer winds down, students are gearing up to hit the books, thanks to a backpack and school supplies program by the Rockford Police.

With the costs of going back to school a burden for some parents, the Rockford Police Officer’s Association gave away 350 backpacks full of school supplies on Wednesday.

“I’m going to get a cute one, an adorable one,” said 2nd grader Alesha Armfald. “So then our friends can look at them and say they’re really cute.”

Rockford Police say the event is to help parents on limited budgets cope with the high costs of school supplies.

“We’re trying to help them help themselves and help the kids, and that’s what it’s all about,” said Officer Matt Williams.

Williams says that not only are the backpacks stylish, but giving the kids something new will build their self-esteem during the school year.

“Having something new builds a positive mental attitude. New clothes, new backpacks… they’re able to go to school with a better outlook on life,” he said. “We added the caveat of the police officer, so the police officer provided that backpack and that newness to them, and maybe that will be a long-lasting effect.”

Parent Constance Jones brought her two sons to Living Faith Tabernacle to get the new backpacks.

“That does wonders for their self-esteem,” she said. “Having everything adequate, it helps them build strong relationships with everyone, so they have everything they need. It helps them grow and helps them learn better.”

Alesha was very happy with the bag she came away with.

“I like the metallic shimmer, because it shimmers just like…the glitter I really love. I love glitter all the time,” she said.

In addition to the Wednesday morning giveaway, police are holding a second event from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at District 1 Headquarters, 1045 W State Street.

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