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Beth Stefanik
Director of Communications
434.296.5106 (o)
434.282.4371 (c) 

Backpack Buddies Enters Seventh Year of Helping Local Students

Charlottesville, Va., July 6, 2016 – Each fall, hundreds of school-age children in central Virginia can’t afford to buy and fill a backpack with the school supplies needed to start the year off right. For the past six years, a local high school student and her friends have ensured that many such children have what they need to succeed at the beginning of school, and they will do the same this year. 

Lucia Hoerr, a 16-year-old rising junior at St. Anne’s-Belfield School, founded Backpack Buddies when she was just nine years old. Each summer she and a loyal group of volunteers raise money, buy supplies, and fill backpacks for needy families. In the summer of 2015, Backpack Buddies contributed more than 390 fully loaded backpacks to students in kindergarten to twelfth grade. The goal for 2016 is 425 backpacks.

Most of the Backpack Buddies backpacks are distributed through the local Boys & Girls Club, but Hoerr also distributes a few individually and some through the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to children who have recently moved to the area from other locations around the world.

“I found out when I was nine years old that many kids in our area started school without the necessary supplies,” said Hoerr. “I just thought maybe I could help. Each year it has grown and we have helped more kids, thanks to the support of our volunteers, donors, and partners.”

Hoerr added that the backpack filling process is complicated, because each grade typically requires different supplies. She uses supply lists provided by the Charlottesville City Schools and tries to match types and styles of backpacks to the ages of the kids in each grade.

Backpack Buddies maintains valuable partnerships with a variety of organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club of Central Virginia, Edelman Financial Services in Northern Virginia, Triple C Camps, the International Rescue Committee, the Jefferson Debating Society at the University of Virginia, and a wide variety of donors and contributors.


About Backpack Buddies of Central Virginia

Backpack Buddies of Central Virginia fills and supplies school backpacks for needy children in the Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and surrounding areas in central Virginia. Founded by Lucia Hoerr, an rising eleventh grade student at St. Anne’s-Belfield School in Charlottesville when she was just nine-years-old, the non-profit organization has raised funds and supplied backpacks to nearly 1,000 area children over six years of operation. For more information, visit


St. Anne’s-Belfield School is a co-educational preschool through grade 12 day school of more than 900 students and 120 faculty and staff, with a boarding program in grades 9 - 12. More than 20 countries are represented in the student body, with 38% of families receiving financial aid. More information may be found at

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