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6 U.S. offices help start the school year with success

The beginning of the school year is always ripe with possibility. A new classroom, new school clothes and new supplies can make any child feel like the academic year is full of new possibilities. But for some children, going back to school can be a dreaded experience because their families can't afford the supplies they need. In order to help those who need it most, Avnet offices across the United States donated hundreds of backpacks and thousands of supplies to make a difference for students in need.

Tempe, Ariz.
Avnet Technology Solutions employees raised the bar for the third annual back-to-school supply drive. "We set a goal of filling 150 backpacks—50 more than last year," says Toni Ramsey, senior communications specialist.

The collection was held in early July in conjunction with Operation Back to School. "Operation Back to School partners with about six agencies in the southeast valley to serve students in Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe and Mesa. Their goal this year was to collect 5,000 backpacks, which is more than double over last year," says Ramsey.

Avnet's summer interns, led by Nick Millas and Bryce Patrick, put out supply collection boxes and raised $2,758.50 through jeans week donations, prize drawings and cash donation boxes. The funds were used to purchase additional school supplies, filling nine shopping carts with more than 3,000 items.

The interns coordinated an assembly line event and invited all employees at Price Road to help stuff the 219 backpacks—69 over their goal. The team volunteered 150 hours to coordinate the drive. "Leading the interns' back-to-school drive was one of my favorite projects I have partaken in this summer," says intern Bryce Patrick.

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Avnet employees collected more than 40 backpacks and supplies in July and August, supporting Oakland Park Elementary School.

"We considered the drive to be a smashing success," says Mimi Dykes, sales and marketing manager. "The school is within 12 minutes from our office location, but in an underprivileged area. Many of the students would not have the necessary school supplies or backpacks if not for the donations this team made."

The principal and her staff met us to accept the donations, and they were beyond ecstatic at just how much we brought. It was fun to watch our donation box grow and how good a feeling it is to give to those less fortunate then we all are," Dykes adds.

Orlando, Fla.
In July, Electronics Marketing employees collected 18 backpacks and more than $270 of schools supplies to fill backpacks for the Kids of Hope back-to-school drive.

Miami, Fla.
The annual backpack drive began with dismal results, but soon turned around when Avnet Technology Solutions employees pitched in an additional $75, which Emma Torres, Human Resources business partner, used to purchase supplies. To maximize buying power, she headed to a Dollar General store where she knew supplies would be more affordable.

While Torres was paying for the carefully selected items, a man in line behind her inquired about the volume of supplies she was buying. "He asked me if I was purchasing all of those supplies for my kids or if I was a teacher. Because I was wearing an Avnet Cares T-shirt, I identified myself as an Avnet employee and explained it was part of the community activities our company takes pride in doing," explains Torres.

"The gentleman was so impressed that he told the cashier to cancel my transaction and consider the supplies paid for. I was stunned! I have been living in Florida for 20 years and I have never experienced this action before. I was so speechless and appreciative that my eyes became filled with tears as I was so disappointed that we had not gathered the same amount of supplies as the previous year," says Torres.

"I asked for his name, but he wanted to remain anonymous. He just said, 'I thank you and your organization for doing things like this because people like you make a difference in the lives of others,'" adds Torres.

Thanks to employee contributions and the generosity of a stranger who doubled the donation, the group provided 13 backpacks full of supplies and an additional four shopping bags of supplies to the Children's Home Society of Florida.

Marlton, N.J.
In conjunction with supplier Texas Instruments, Avnet employees supported the Burlington County back-to-school effort. They collected 32 backpacks and 26 calculators, along with more than 1,500 school supplies.

Richardson, Texas
The annual school supplies drive for Forestridge Elementary School yielded six large boxes of basic school supplies to meet the needs of students. With the donation from Avnet, "we are able to support a number of children who are not able to come with all the supplies that they needed," says Forestridge Principal Misty Wilson.

In addition to the collection drive for Forestridge Elementary, 16 employees volunteered 28 hours to stuff backpacks for the Network of Community Ministries.​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Interns give back

Avnet's summer interns brought a new level of excitement to our annual back to school drive.