Needy kids get supply-filled book bags

CSM Book Bag Project Coordinator Heather Ziotta

La Plata, MD -- The main meeting room at the College of Southern Maryland La Plata campus Business and Industry Building was filled on Thursday, Aug. 20. It was filled that day with school supplies and empty book bags. On Friday those book bags will be filled with the supplies. Then on Saturday, Aug. 22 the room will be filled with smiling faces as 1,500 Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students will be given those free supply-filled book bags for the new school year.

The program to help needy children has been administered for a number of years by the Charles County Children’s Aid Society. Two years ago the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) joined the partnership by offering space to stuff the book bags. This year the college will also be the distribution center.

Pam Vahle of Children’s Aid Society told The BayNet that the program would not be possible without the assistance of the community. She said this year Car Max of Brandywine donated $10,000 for the purchase of supplies and Navigant Consulting of Washington, DC kicked in $2,500.

Each book bag when filled to the brim has supplies valued at $50. They include: filler paper, binder, glue, yellow highlighters, markers, protractors, compasses, composition notebooks, filler paper, erasers, pocket folders, index cards, pencil case, pencil sharpeners, pens, rulers, scissors, spiral notebooks, staplers, tab dividers and crayons.

The Friday bag filling operation will be conducted by employees of CSM. The college’s coordinator for the project, Heather Ziotta said, “We are really excited about the partnership and expanding it.”

The Saturday book bag distribution is 9 a.m. to noon. To add to the excitement Pinch from the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs will make an appearance. And the kids will also receive complimentary tickets to a Blue Crabs game and free coupons from Sweet Frog in La Plata.

“We just try to make the community understand the need (for the program),” said Vahle. “Without the community we couldn’t do it,” she added.

Contact Dick Myers at


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