Tennessee Serves Provides New Backpacks to Every Student in State’s Distressed Counties

Tuesday, July 18, 2023 | 04:17pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Today, Tennessee First Lady Maria Lee announced her initiative, Tennessee Serves, has provided new backpacks to more than 10,000 students in the state’s economically distressed counties.

The project is in coordination with Tennessee Serves’ work to support back-to-school efforts throughout July by supplying essential items to students and families in economically disadvantaged areas across the state. This is the third consecutive year Tennessee Serves has partnered with the state’s Family Resource Centers to distribute backpacks to school-aged children in distressed counties.

“Equipping students with the tools necessary to learn and succeed is crucial—both in and out of the classroom,” said First Lady Maria Lee. “It’s our hope these backpacks will play a small role in students’ educational experiences by helping them feel confident and empowered to accomplish their goals during the upcoming school year.”

Since 2021, Tennessee Serves has provided 16,180 new backpacks to students in the state’s distressed counties. This year, every elementary, middle and high school student in school districts in the following counties will receive backpacks from the First Lady’s initiative:

  • Bledsoe County
  • Clay County
  • Cocke County
  • Grundy County*
  • Hancock County
  • Hardeman County
  • Lake County
  • Lauderdale County*
  • Scott County
  • Morgan County*
  • Perry County

*Grundy, Lauderdale and Morgan Counties are no longer distressed as of June 27, 2023.

“On behalf of Bledsoe County Schools, we thank our First Lady Maria Lee for the commitment to our students in this district,” said Michelle DeBord-Rains, Coordinated School Health Director/Nursing Supervisor. “Tennessee Serves has been so beneficial in past years to equip our students with the supplies they need. We are so grateful for the work they do and the smiles they bring to our students as we prepare for a new, exciting school year.”

The backpacks will be distributed by each school district. For more information on distribution, contact the school district’s Family Resource Center.