PACK THE TRUCK: WPXI, Giant Eagle collect school supplies for needy kids

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PITTSBURGH —

On Wednesday, WPXI-TV and Giant Eagle joined together in an effort to “Pack the Truck” full of school supplies for local children in need.

A truck was parked at the Channel 11 News studios from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Donations were also accepted at Giant Eagle locations in Shaler and Monroeville.

WPXI-TV viewers and Facebook fans were asked to stop by to donate whatever they could. All proceeds benefited The Education Partnership -- an organization that helps thousands of children in the area every year.

Several Channel 11 on-air personalities were at the truck throughout the day. They included David Johnson, Peggy Finnegan, Cara Sapida, Scott Harbaugh, Joe Arena, Katherine Amenta, Jennifer Tomazic, Stephen Cropper and Dave Bondy. Ray Carter, WPXI-TV’s vice president and general manager, presented a check for $1,000 to Justin Brown, executive director of The Education Partnership.

Some of the most generous donations came from Cheryl Beeman and Patty Camper, principal of Pittsburgh Arsenal. Beeman donated several boxes of new three-ring binders, and Camper, along with student Jayda Griffin, donated a significant amount of books and writing utensils.

Mikey and Big Bob from the 96.1 KISS Freak Show donated school supplies. WPXI-TV viewers enjoyed meeting and chatting with them.

The day had its share of emotional moments, too, as several children and teenagers donated supplies they had paid for themselves. A group of kids even had a contest to see who could buy the most supplies with $30 of their own money. A teenager, Tim, who follows all of the WPXI-TV talent on Twitter, was one of the young donators.

The Education Partnership aims to bridge the gap between what students have and what they need to succeed in the classroom. The organization, based in Pittsburgh, serves schools that are underserved in a geographic area encompassing six counties -- Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland.

“The Education Partnership's main strength and value is the direct and immediate delivery of needed school supplies into the hands of students who have only one opportunity to make the most of their educational experience, and then it's gone forever,” says Justin Brown. “The students we serve did not choose their situation - yet they have the same hopes and dreams of all students, but not the tools and supplies needed to succeed.”

This school year, The Education Partnership will serve 7,500 students and 750 teachers, providing them with school and classroom supplies at no charge. Since 2010, the organization has distributed more than $1,800,000 in free supplies.

To learn more, visit TheEducationPartnership.org or call 412-922-6500.