Amidst the typical back-to-school rush is the ever present need for full backpacks and book bags, and one local company recently took charge of improving the spirits, hearts, and supplies of students in need for a Houston school impacted by Hurricane Harvey last year.
Last Thursday, Doggett Ford and YMCA’s Operation Backpack partnered to distribute hundreds of backpacks to students in need at Carroll Academy off West Gulf Bank Road as part of the company’s renewed community involvement efforts.
“We just had a concept of how we wanted to reach out and touch the community around us,” Marketing Director Libby Covington said. “With the timing of it being May and school starting [a few months later], we explored who we could partner with in regards to a community event and donations.”
After connecting with YMCA’s Operation Backpack, a stroke of good fortune led Doggett to be paired with YMCA of Aldine and Carroll Academy – a mere half mile drive from their dealership, which stands just outside the Garden Oaks/Oak Forest area. Doggett’s more than 500 employees conducted a full supply drive and backpack donation drive for the school’s children who could not afford to buy school supplies or backpacks with the full pack of stuff for the start of school.
“We were able to fully meet the needs at that school with every child that needed a backpack,” Covington said.
The already-existing need at Carroll has been exacerbated by Hurricane Harvey. Many families at Carroll were battered by Harvey, and Principal Jennifer Price said many of the school’s students had left due to displacement, and are just recently returning.
“They definitely had the need, coupled with the fact that many of them had flooded last year. It’s just so hard to get back after something like that, so it was a good feeling,” Covington said.
The YMCA in Aldine had distributed 1,200 backpacks in the area last year, but unfortunately were not able to meet the needs of one entire school – until Doggett approached the organization with their proposal.
“It was an upbeat, smiling sort of atmosphere – especially with the students, but also the parents. They didn’t have this same level of support last year,” Covington said.
Doggett donated 250 full backpacks of supplies between corporate and employee donations, and then distributed more than 400 backpacks at Carroll Academy Aug. 16 during the school’s Meet The Teacher Night.
“The parents and students were so overjoyed to get the backpacks with school supplies. It was a true blessing to have these two companies reach out and give to the Carroll community. It’s nice to see the community smile at the one-year mark,” Price said. “Carroll Cougars have persevered through this with the help of many, and we thank Doggett Ford Company and the YMCA for their kindness and support!”
Further, it is not just a one-and-done event. Covington explained that in the interests of community engagement, Doggett is exploring working with Carroll Academy year-round, essentially adopting them in that way.
“We haven’t made a decision on what that’s going to look like yet, but with them being so close to us, we’re happy to be a part of this community,” she said. “We want to continue reaching out to help our community, and we’re excited to make an impression. Connecting with the community is important to us; our employees were excited to do it, and we’re happy we can give them that chance.”