MUSKEGON, Mich. — Organizing school supplies such as crayons, notebooks, and folders then packing them into backpacks is a labor of love for Muskegon sisters Payton and Madelyn Chittenden.
“If you see something wrong, you should at least try to fix it,” said Payton.
The sisters are working to make a difference for students this school year.
“We donate school supplies to kids that… can’t afford it,” said Madelyn.
In July, FOX17 introduced the sisters and their mission to collect school supplies for their classmates with families impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
They figured they would be able to pack a few dozen backpacks, but as the donations picked up so did the project’s impact.
“It’s just making those kids smile and not worry about corona,” said Melissa Chittenden, mom.
Melissa says monetary and supply donations have added to over $5,000, which is enough to create more than 950 backpacks for kindergarten through fourth grade students at Reeths Puffer Schools, Muskegon Public Schools, Holton Public Schools, and Fruitport Community Schools.
That’s 15 to 25 kits per grade at each district’s elementary schools.
“It means so much to me as a parent that this is what my kids are focusing on during a time with the corona, they’re not really worried about catching the germs, they’re worried about what can we do to make this a better place?” said Melissa.
Teachers will distribute the kits to their students once classes start.
Payton and Madelyn believe it could connect students during a year in which not much can be shared and teach them all a lesson of love.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re helping a little or a lot, you’re still changing the world,” said Madelyn.
“It will help them learn and they will know that they’re special and someone cares about them,” said Payton.