Backpacks for Kids
What is Backpacks for Kids all about?
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What is Backpacks for Kids?
It is the 'Signature Project' for Sunrise Rotary, launched in 2004. We supply a new backpack with school supplies to public school children and grades K - 5, high school students enrolled in the STEP (Students in Transition Empowerment Program) program, as well as to partner agencies. Since the program's inception we have donated over 14,000 backpacks.
Who does Backpacks for Kids Serve?
The Backpacks for Kids project serves approximately 1,500 area school children each year. The target list is provided by Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) administration, and primarily includes students qualifying for the reduced school lunch program. We provide a special allocation of backpacks for high school students in STEP and, through TBAISD, we reach special needs students in the five-county area. Additionally we have partnered with local agencies who have clients that would benefit from the program. We see this project as one small way to aid these families that are most in need of support from our community.


What funding is required?
In our first year, we attempted to seek donations of product and quickly found it was impossible to obtain sufficient quantities of individual items. In subsequent years, we have sought funding through charitable contributions and grants to help offset the expense. On average a fully supplied backpack costs $15.00, requiring annual proceeds of $20,000 - $25,000.


How can you help?
We always appreciate the tax-exempt financial donations of individuals and corporations. If your service group, sports team, or youth group would like to participate in assembling backpacks, please contact us at



"A big thank you to the Traverse City Schools and Rotary Club! One of your school backpacks is being sent to Yaounde, Cameroon Africa to a 14 year old girl, Chancelle, who lives with her married cousin, as her mother could not care for her. To her, this backpack will be an amazing gift!! Chancelle does go to school, and will love these supplies. Thank you very much for your caring for others."