The Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls USA has teamed up again with The Salvation Army, United Way of Greater Niagara, and the Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club to distribute backpacks filled with school supplies.

The present is from 13:00 to 17:00 today. A member of these organizations will hand out her 500 backpacks to local students inside Entrance 6 near the Saks Off 5th and Forever 21 stores. Up to 40 volunteers will be on hand throughout the day, including contestants from this year’s Niagara County Peach Queen.

According to Fashion Outlets marketing manager Sue Swiatkowski, the backpack has everything kids need for school: paper, folders, pens, pencils and highlighters. There are also different types of backpacks, some plain and others with characters painted on them, which appeal to children of all ages.

“When they’re gone, they’re gone,” she said. “I recommend that she participates with a number closer to 1 than 5.”

Students in Pre-K through Grade 12 are required to be present to receive their backpacks and will not be available until supplies last.

We had 350 backpacks in our hands last year and some of this year’s giveaways left. Swiatkowski says it’s getting more promotions this year, so he hopes to reveal it all tomorrow.

Also today, Chico’s and Old Navy will have a public mural project outside Entrance 3 from noon to 3 p.m. The theme of the mural is “gentleness is fashionable.”

“We try to make people feel good about walking through the mall and going back to school,” said Swiatkowski, and stores in the mall have their own back-to-school sales.

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