Two Rome men are getting kids ready to go back to school with a record number of backpacks filled with supplies this year.

The back-to-school supply drive started with one man helping a few people. It turned into a community coming together to help hundreds of kids get everything they need to go back to school.

Bryan Brockway of Rome, New York was so bothered by seeing parents struggle to get everything kids needed for school, that he decided to help. He teamed up with his lifelong friend Nazie Adolphi to start a backpack supply drive several years ago.

The guys collected 50 backpacks the first year. The second year they brought in 75. Over the next several years, businesses and the Rome Police Department pitched in, bringing in hundreds of backpacks. This year, Nazie and Brockway hoped to help even more kids. "We want to collect over 700 backpacks this time," said Nazie.

School Backpack Drive in Rome
Photo Credit - Bryan Brockway

Record Backpacks Collected

Ask and you shall receive. The supply drive brought in a record 800 backpacks and supplies that Brockway, Nazie, and several volunteers helped stuff. "People don’t realize what all the volunteers go through," said Brockway. "From finding and picking up donations, to ordering supplies, and hand counting every single folder, pencil, and notebook multiple times to make sure no kid goes without. Unloading all of the boxes in the heat of August and then stuffing all the bookbags. It's a lot of work."

Credit - Bryan Brockway
Credit - Bryan Brockway

Drive-Thru Backpacks

All that work has led to the annual Drive-Thru Backpack Giveaway that will be held Saturday, August 27 at D&D Carpets on East Dominick Street in Rome. It's open to anyone and everyone regardless of how much they make, where they live, or how old they are. Parents just need to bring their kids who need the supplies. "If someone needs a book bag and supplies we provide it."

The free backpacks can be picked up starting at 9 AM. Once they're gone, they're gone. "When the cars line up and we see the kids smiling and the grateful parents, it makes all that hard work so worth it," said Brockway.

Credit - Bryan Brockway
Credit - Bryan Brockway

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