Students in Memphis’ poorest area get new supplies, access to internet

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Different organizations in Memphis are working to help community members in one of the poorest areas of our city.

It's part of the Women's Foundation Zip Code 38126 Back to School Project with FedEx as a presenting sponsor.

Friday was the launch of a new community center and a backpack giveaway at two Shelby County schools.

Volunteers helped fill 1,000 backpacks with 91 different items in each, from school supplies to hygiene products.

“To help enrich these students’ lives and get them ready to go back to school," said Rachel Kesselman, communications adviser for FedEx.

The backpacks were given to students at Booker T. Washington High School and LaRose Elementary School.

As music blared in the auditorium, eager students picked up their new goodies one by one.

It’s all part of a bigger goal to reduce poverty in the 38126 zip code-area by one percent per year over five years.

The Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis is leading the project and along with the backpacks, came a new resource room at Booker T. Washington High.

“It’s important to have that level of access, ability so that you have a role in helping yourself become efficient," said Ruby Bright, executive director of the Women's Foundation.

The room offers computer access and various resources with a plan for a full center to open next year. Everyone in the neighbouring community is welcome to use what’s there.

“The south city area has been a great neighbourhood in Memphis for a long time, but it’s fallen on hard times recently," said Mayor Jim Strickland. "There’s very high poverty rates, inadequate housing, so the city, the schools, the women’s foundation have all teamed up and other organizations to really improve this area.”

Giving the community the right tools to build a brighter future.

For more information on this back-to-school project and how you can help, go here.