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A love and peace themed backpack sits at the top of the pile of backpacks collected by Merrimack Mortgage Company of Manchester. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

Merrimack Mortgage donates 110 backpacks to Salvation Army

MANCHESTER — Students may not quite be ready for back-to-school time, but 110 backpacks are stocked and waiting for classes to resume.

Merrimack Mortgage Co. donated the backpacks and materials inside to the Salvation Army on Friday.

"That's a lot for one donor to give. That's very significant," said Capt. Herb Rader, who runs the Manchester corps of the Salvation Army. "It really helps."

The backpack drive has become an annual event for employees at Manchester-based Merrimack Mortgage. Anita Wolcott has led the drive all six years and the donations have increased each time from the 40 backpacks donated in the first effort.

Wolcott said Merrimack Mortgage employees purchased the backpacks themselves for the cause or sent her a check. Wolcott shopped around, contacted local business and stretched the dollars enough to fill the packs with pens, pencils, erasers, lunch boxes and most anything else young students will need when classes start.

"It's everything to give them the start that they need to get off on the right foot to the start of the school year," she said.

In addition, Merrimack Mortgage donated a $10 Walmart gift card to add anything that is missing.

"It feels great. It's something we can give back," company owner Dan McKenney said after touring the Salvation Army's Manchester facility at 121 Cedar St. "It's very impressive how many kids they filter through here."

Rader said more backpacks will be coming in from other groups as summer comes to an end. He said the Salvation Army will continue to collect donations for its annual back-to-school drive and distribute them before classes resume.

"To see this many come in at once is really something," Rader said.


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