Ark Project STOCK

The ARK Project has resources available to homeless teens to help them stay and finish school and meet other needs they may have.

COOS BAY — Three-hundred backpacks are being given out to homeless students at the annual At Risk Kids Back-to-School event.

On Wednesday, Aug. 21 from 1-5 p.m. in Marshfield High School’s Pirate Hall, the ARK Project is handing out free JanSport backpacks, basic school supplies and hygiene bags for boys and girls for free.

“This is open to all Coos County,” said Melinda Torres, ARK program manager. “We will only be giving backpacks to school-age children and youth who qualify as homeless, so people who are doubled-up, camping, living in an RV, motel, living in transitional housing, or a shelter.”

Students who need the backpacks, school supplies and hygiene bags will fill out ARK paperwork, or the basic intake form. This way, if they need anything else during the school year, “they will know they can come to us when we’re open,” Torres said.

Last year, the ARK’s Back-to-School event handed out 150 backpacks out of 250. Leftover bags are divvied up equally and given out to all the schools across the county to be dispersed to students who qualify for them.

“We’re excited because the MHS Charity Program will be helping put this together like they do every year,” Torres said.

Not only that, but the ARK was able to purchase 300 JanSport backpacks from a $3,000 donation from Jordan Cove.

“I really wanted to get nice backpacks for these kids,” Torres said.

The Red Schoolhouse through Zonta also donated school supplies, while the Coos Bay Elks Club donated hygiene bags.

“I’m glad to see more community partners help out,” Torres said. “I’m really thankful for that.”

For more information about the ARK or the event, call 541-267-3104 extension 7115.

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.