FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Cumberland County Schools, along with the Carolina Panthers, in a partnership with Balm in Gilead, gave away more than 2,000 backpacks, among other things, to families in need in the county Monday night.

Across the summer, the Carolina Panthers have donated 5,000 backpacks to the school system and the district joined Fayetteville’s family counseling ministry to distribute a portion of them to students Monday.

“We are grateful to our committed community partners for their tremendous support,” said Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr., superintendent of CCS. “Dr. Vivian Rhone and her team of volunteers did a tremendous job tonight. It was truly a representation of our committed community in action. Students, CCS employees and community partners joined forces to help our students prepare for a successful school year.” 

Throughout the donation event, thousands of families attended and were met with backpacks, school supplies and even some fresh, hot meals.

“It’s extremely humbling,” said Dr. Vivian Rhone, CEO of Balm in Gilead. “Everybody out here gets it. They understand what this event is about. It’s about identifying with each other and those in need as well as understanding the need for compassion.”