The Durham Rescue Mission held its 15th Annual Back to School Party and Cookout for at-risk children last week in Durham, NC. To prepare for the event, over 150 GSK volunteers worked at the event and in advance to unload and pack school supplies into backpacks.
GSK donates the supplies and helps staff the event as a contribution to the health of the community where we are proud to live and work. The goal each year is to provide new backpacks and school supplies for at-risk children in an effort to encourage them to be excited about going back to school and getting a good start on the new school year.
2,927 Backpacks were given to needy children
Children and their parents started lining up in front of the Durham Rescue Mission at 4:30 AM for the big event. By 5 AM there was already a large group of men, women, and children in line even though they knew the party did not start until 9:00 AM.
GlaxoSmithKline’s Joe Touey (SVP North America Pharma IT) and Tom Scales (VP National Accounts) joined Dr. Bert L’Homme (Durham Public Schools Superintendent), Wendell Davis (Durham County Manage) and Ernie Mills (Durham Rescue Mission CEO) to ring the old school bells to mark the beginning of another school year and the day’s events.
Listen to why one GSK employee volunteers below --- audio track #1.
This kindergarten student attended the Durham Rescue Mission event for the first time – he was excited to receive his blue backpack. In the background you can see clothing that was available free to attendees. Over 11,500 articles of clothing were given away.
GSK’s Joe Touey gave out the first backpack of the day. Over 4,397 people were in attendance.
Listen as this third grader tells what she wants to be when she grows up --- audio track #2.
Over 3,700 plates of hot dogs and chips were served during the day.
These girls lined up at 6am in the morning to get their backpacks.
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