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The Willing Helpers Society, a La Plata-based nonprofit, held its annual back-to-school backpack giveaway and community day Saturday at its hall in La Plata.

Group member Louise Green said that every year the group conducts various drives and fundraisers to put together backpacks full of school supplies to donate to children in need all across the area.

This year’s drive was as successful as any other in terms of donations, she said. The group was able to donate 80 backpacks with school supplies to those registered.

“We usually get around 100 people to come out, but it gets a little bigger every year,” Green said. “And that’s what we like to see. We offer all this free of charge to those who want to come out.”

The backpacks are given away to those who register to receive them. Another society member, Mary Ball, emphasized the community’s generosity in assisting them in their collection drives.

“It’s just outrageous how much is received,” Ball said. “Everything is free for a child in need of any color, and we stress that. Anyone can receive these from us.”

Ball said it is not uncommon for the group to see leftover supplies following its annual August celebration because of the sheer volume of donations received. She said the supplies then are donated to churches and other community organizations that might need them.

Aside from providing supplies, member Turner Coggins, who also serves as an anatomy professor at the College of Southern Maryland, said the group is looking to partner with other organizations to offer free tutoring services.

“We’re looking to provide help and hope in the community,” Coggins said. “We can give them the tools to do the work, but we need to give students the wherewithal to use what we give out. We have good schools here, but they can’t do it all.”

Coggins said he was was uncertain when the group would begin offering more services.

Helping Helpers

For information on the Willing Helpers Society or how to donate, contact Louise Green at 301-934-4427.