Now, a decade later, the fundraising event is helping meet various educational needs of students from kindergarten through high school.
Educators from numerous Apex area schools gathered June 15 at the chamber’s office to help stuff bags with school supplies that will be distributed to students.
Although the book bags still play a large role in the event, the fundraiser has grown to a new level in assisting local youth.
By raising a record $10,065 this year, the chamber was also able to issue gift cards to elementary and middle schools and provide funds for the Apex Youth Leadership Program at Apex High School.
“It has grown a lot through the years,” said Amy Dean, chair of the chamber’s education committee. “At one time it was just filling up the book bags with pens and pencils and then walking out the door. Although we still provide 150 book bags full of supplies we also provide money for other things.
“We have students coming to school who don’t have jackets or they have holes in their shoes. The gift cards we give to the schools will help get whatever the students need.”
For the past two years, the event has also helped high school students who show great potential for leadership.
“The Apex Youth Leadership Program consists of 15 juniors who display leadership qualities,” said Dean. “We take them on visits to various industries and government agencies.
“This year we took them to the Town of Apex and each department head gave the students different problems. They had to show how they would manage the town staff to solve those problems. It was a great experience for them.”
While the fundraiser has changed through the years the support of the community has remained steadfast. This year, the chamber hoped to raise $10,000 but was unsure how the poor economy would affect donations.
For the tenth straight year, Apex businesses, civic organizations and residents rose to the challenge. “Most of us are fortunate and we can provide our children with school supplies,” said Dean. “But not everybody is able to afford it. Every year, people and businesses respond and helps these students. To be able to reach our goal of $10,000 during these difficult economic times says a lot about the Apex community.”
Contributors to the 10th Annual Book Bag Bonanza included:
Anna’s Pizzeria, Apex Appraisals, Wachovia Bank, Apex Garden Club, Apex High Staff, Apex Newcomers Club, Apex Rotary Club, BB&T, Carolina Hurricanes, Children’s Dentistry of Apex, CooperTools Inc., Cressa Partners, Cornerstone Homes, JC Knowles, Edward Jones/Bonnie Fischer, FeatureTel, EMC Corporation, Garland C. Norris Company, Goddard School/Cariello Family, JVI Construction Inc., McDonald’s LLC, L.G. Jordan Oil Company, Leslie Hopkins, Prime Mortgage Lending, Primrose School of West Cary, Promotional Partners, RE/MAX United/Cat Kearns, REMAX/Chuck Hinton, Royal Oaks Building Group, Susan LoPresti, The Salem Street Pub, Wachovia