Junior Auxiliary of Abbeville members Renee Bertrand and Tayna Istre (blue T-shirts) spoke to the Rotary Club of Abbeville about JA’s Project “Backpack To School Supply” drive.
Rotary member Dr. Anita Carrere, who is also a member of JA, and Rotary President
Thomas Thompson present school supplies to JA, donated by Rotarians.

Project Backpack: Junior Auxiliary of Abbeville looking for school supply donations

School began around Vermilion Parish Thursday morning.
Social media filled with smiling students on their first day. Students settled in their new desks with their new teachers.
It’s an emotional and exciting time.
It can also be a stressful time for some families who, for various reasons, don’t have the means to purchase school supplies and uniforms.
Members of the Junior Auxiliary of Abbeville have worked with other groups recently to make sure that students in Vermilion Parish are going back to school with everything they need.
Project Backpack, which JA has conducted since 1999, has already supplied nearly 40 students with necessities for the entire year. The group hopes to help many more.
Junior Auxiliary members Tanya Istre and Renee Bertrand spoke Wednesday afternoon to the Rotary Club of Abbeville about the
continued effort. Rotarians donated several bags of school supplies on Wednesday.
“We greatly appreciate the partnership,” Istre said. “We are supper excited about the donations.”
Istre said every little bit is needed.
“We received over 60 names of students that needed assistance,” Istre explained. “We helped around 30 kids last year and that fulfilled the list that we were given.”
Counselors from schools in the parish submit names of students who are in need to the JA. Istre said schools that have not submitted names in the past did so this year.
“What we are finding out is that there are families still struggling from the flood last August,” Istre said. “Some of these families who were working really hard to make ends meet, but never needed to ask for assistance before, are having to ask for assistance now.
“We are doing everything we can to help fulfill that need.”
Istre said the impact is humbling.
“This morning I dropped off some donations at Indian Bayou,” Istre said. “One of the mothers and her children stopped me. I almost cried all of my makeup off. The child hugged and thanked me that she could go back to school with supplies.
“It’s just rips your heart out.”
Istre said the JA is grateful for the partnership with the Rotary Club, the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce and other groups that help make Project Backpack a success.
“The only way we can make this happen,” Istre said, “is for groups in Vermilion Parish- all pulling together to make this happen for these children.”
The effort is going to go on as long as it is needed. Anyone interested in donating can contact JA at jaofabbeville@gmail.com.
“We are going to accept donations as long as they are coming in,” Istre said.

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