Mari, also known as Little Miss Flint, partnered with the nonprofit organization Pack Your Back on Sunday for a school supply distribution in her hometown of Flint, Michigan.
Students within the city of Flint, which still faces long-term public health issues due to its ongoing water crisis, have a serious need for school supplies. So Mari stepped up to the plate.
“I wanted to make sure kids got the best start possible to the school year and for their parents to not have to worry about having to buy supplies,” Mari told HuffPost.
Last year, Mari started the #PackYourBackChallenge on Twitter and was able to fill 100 backpacks with school supplies. She saw 10 times that amount this year.
Organizers were able to distribute more than 1,000 backpacks to every single student that came to the event. Mari also raised around $10,000 online.
— Mari Copeny (@LittleMissFlint) August 6, 2017
This is the second major school supply distribution for Pack Your Back, the nonprofit founded by Galen Miller and several other students at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. They visited Flint during the water crisis and decided to do something.
“We saw the need that was in the city at the time during the water crisis for water, but we also saw how it was having an impact on students,” Miller, who serves as the executive director of Pack Your Back, told HuffPost.
“We came up with the idea to buy school supplies because a lot of people can’t afford them, especially during times of trouble like the water crisis,” Miller said.
Pack Your Back has started to expand to other areas of Michigan, with an upcoming school supply drive in Detroit.
And Mari, who attended the People’s Climate March back in April, is simply doing her part to make sure other kids in Flint aren’t going back to school without help.
“I’m a Flint kid that wants to help all the other Flint kids,” she said.