'We want to double what we do': MPS Foundation extends deadline for backpack fundraiser to reach goal

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation needs your help. Every year, they donate backpacks and supplies to MPS students but this year they say donations are down.

The non-traditional return to school is one thing the foundation's executive director believes is impacting their goal of serving students.

"One of the things we're seeing this year is that our donations are coming in much slower," said MPS Foundation Executive Director Wendell Willis.

For the last six years, the foundation has done this campaign.

Last year, they gave out more than 1,500 backpacks with school supplies. Their usual campaign goal is $25,000 but so far, they're only at $14,000. So now, they're extending the deadline and raising their goal.

"We're going to ask the community for a really big surge, and push, because we want to get to this year is actually $50,000. We want to double what we do," said Willis.

The MPS Foundation usually helps students at about eight MPS schools. This year, they've extended their donation deadline by two weeks in hopes of doubling the number of schools to 16.

The backpacks are being assembled by staff at Beyond Vision in Wauwatosa.

"I think it helps them monetarily, they don't have to pay for the supplies," said Jackie Ackley, an employee at Beyond Vision. "I also think it gives the kids a sense of being important. They're important enough that someone cares enough about them to see that they even get these supplies.

The foundation traditionally focuses on younger students with this campaign, and randomly chooses the elementary and middle schools that get the donations.

"If you support these students early in life, as soon as we have them, and we all wrap our arms around them, they're going to know they're well-cared, well loved," said Willis.

The MPS Foundation's new fundraising deadline is Sept. 10.

To donate online, CLICK HERE, and choose "No Empty Backpacks" as the fund where your money will go.

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