Suffolk student collects backpacks for homeless children

Jemie Lee, 13 News Now
SUFFOLK, Va. (WVEC) – A Suffolk student's mission to make sure every student is going to school prepared is bringing the community together – encouraging others to help children in need. Fourteen-year-old Archana Venkatsan is an avid volunteer. When she called various homeless shelters to find out how she could help, she discovered there was a need for backpacks.

“Usually there are drives for school supplies, but for some reason backpacks are overlooked. And the thing is, most of these children have to leave behind their belongings when they come to the shelter, and they have nothing to put their stuff in,” she said. That’s when she came up with “Bags for Benefit.”

She drove around town with her parents, collecting cardboard boxes. Then she started calling as many businesses as she could, asking them to put her boxes in their stores.

“I had to knock on a lot of doors. I talked to a lot of stores in the area, and most of them would connect me to their headquarters in Atlanta and New York. Most of them said no because of their corporate policies.  

But her school, Nansemond Suffolk Academy, the Suffolk libraries, Starbucks and Towne Bank gave her the okay. To continue reading the story and to view the video, please click here.
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Nansemond-Suffolk Academy is a coeducational, college preparatory private school located in Suffolk, VA. Pre-kindergarten - Grade 12.