OGDEN -- Organizers of an effort to collect backpacks and school supplies for those in need were emotional Friday as they realized they'd collected enough for everyone who had signed up for the items.
"How grateful we are to such a generous community," said Pam Parkinson, advisory board chairwoman of the Catholic Community Services Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank in Ogden.
"When they know there is a need, they pull through."
As of 3 p.m. Friday, the Pack the Bus effort had brought in 839 backpacks with 820 youths signed up to receive them.
Some of the children had been put on a waiting list because they requested help after the effort's deadline, and organizers were nervous about being able to serve them.
However, organizers learned Friday that not only would they be able to help all those who registered for a backpack, but they would also be able to support those students whose parents were unable to register for the assistance.
"It's a heartwarming experience to see citizens in our community come by with multiple backpacks and piles of school supplies to help those in need," said Bob Hunter, president and CEO of United Way of Northern Utah.
Zeb Williams, communications manager for United Way of Northern Utah, reflected on the excitement of his own childhood when he got new school supplies.
"It's pretty rad that people from the community would step up and provide school supplies for those in need," he said.
United Way was one of three locations accepting donations throughout the day Friday. Two school buses and signs there reminded area residents to drop off the supplies.
Another school bus was positioned at the Bank of Utah parking lot on 40th Street and Washington Boulevard, and supplies were also collected at the food bank.
"Any backpacks that we don't distribute here, we will give to the Ogden School District Foundation and the Boys & Girls Club," said Marcie Valdez, food bank director.
"Any backpacks we get will go to good use," Parkinson added.
The women said the results of the effort were far different from last year, when only half of this year's number of backpacks was collected.
"It was a horrible, sinking feeling last year to see all those kids and know that we didn't have enough to help," Valdez said of a line that went all the way around the food bank building on distribution day. "We had to limit it to two backpacks per family."
Organizers said top event sponsors, each of whom gave at least $500 worth of supplies to the cause, made the difference between success and failure. Those sponsors included Get Away Today Travel, Wadman Corp., Convergys, Bank of Utah and United Way of Northern Utah.
On Monday, kids and their families will arrive at pre-arranged times so they won't have to wait in line to receive the backpacks.
They also won't have to worry about not getting a pack, organizers say.
Those still wishing to donate to the cause may do so through Aug. 15 by placing backpacks and school supplies in specially marked bins at the Walmart stores at 20th Street and Wall Avenue in Ogden or at 534 N. Harrisville Road in Harrisville.
Collections also still will be taken for a few days at the food bank, 2504 F Ave., in West Ogden.