MARKED TREE, Ark. — A Mid-South police officer is using his own money to purchase hundreds of backpacks and supplies for students.
Sgt. Eric Jackson with the Marked Tree Police Department is organizing the big back-to-school drive. He's also putting on a back-to-school party with food and a raffle this weekend.
"Reaching out to the community to see what exactly I could do to be a part of the solution," he said.
Jackson has purchased 300 backpacks for elementary to high school students, which are now stacked in boxes in the multi-purpose room of the Marked Tree Police Department. The plan is to pack supplies inside like pencils, crayons, glue sticks, hand sanitizer, notebooks and binders.
"On top of that I have multiple other people that have donated backpacks and they've stuffed them themselves already so looking to have about 350," he explained.
Thin Blue Line, a mototcycle Club Jackson is a part of, helped out along with Dollar Tree and others. However, he has put about $1,600 of his own money into the project and planned giveaway party.
He's also purchased raffle prizes, tickets the community can buy like a flat-screen TV, special cooler and various cash gift cards.
"The money I make from the raffle is going to go back into the backpacks and buying school supplies."
We've told you about Jackson before, a few months ago, when a citizen helped him out on a call and he was fighting with a suspect. Jackson firmly believes in having a strong ties to the community he works in.
"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem and I'm a firm believer in that," he said. "I go out to these different homes and its easy to see whats going on and then critique it and if you're not doing nothing about it, that's when you become part of the problem.
"Being part of the solution is doing, being the change you want to see."
He hopes shining a light on something positive will help others to be a change, too. Jackson credits his parents and wife for helping him.
You can still buy raffle tickets for various prizes this week, tickets are at the Marked Tree Police Department.
The giveaway is this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the town hall at 1 Elm St. in Marked Tree.
People from surrounding communities are invited for free food and drinks and to pick up a back pack while supplies last.