Md. couple collects backpacks, school supplies for DC kids in need

A couple in Prince George's County is planning a big cookout on July 15. Their goal is to give backpacks to 3000 children in need in D.C.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - A couple in Prince George's County is planning a big cookout Saturday. Normally, that doesn't make the news. But, this party has a purpose. 

Jonathan and Kyi Branch of Suitland, Md. want to give thousands of D.C. school kids, who have next to nothing, the tools they need to ace the school year.

He's a D.C. police officer, she's an outreach coordinator for the department and together they are making a difference.

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"It's an amazing feeling! We never expected that we would have this many," said Kyi. 

The mom of four is talking about the piles of backpacks and school supplies in her husband's man-cave-turned-distribution-center. This is the fifth year the couple has been organizing their school supply drive and it's grown. They collected 116 backpacks the first year. This year, the goal is 3,000 and they are very close.

"Starting as an officer in 6D, I would come home and tell her (Kyi) stories about some of the things that I would kind of see firsthand, kids with no food in the house, no school supplies," said Jonathan. 

Kyi says it was heartbreaking to hear those stories.

"I always feel like if you're in a position where you can do something about it then that's exactly what you need to do," she said. 

Jonathan agreed with his wife's comment.

"Puts a smile in your heart, it's a great feeling," he said. "I'll be more than willing to give up my man cave to bless two thousand kids with school supplies and make it a little easier on parents who need the help."

Friends, family and coworkers have been donating money online. Kyi used that money to buy backpacks in bulk as well as notebooks, pencils, crayons, glue sticks and scissors. More than a hundred people will likely attend their cookout at their home Saturday and donate even more.

Once all the supplies are sorted and stuffed in backpacks, the Branches and their children plus some volunteers will hand them out at housing complexes already identified as having children who need them.

Kyi says it's the least they can do.

"We're just ordinary people coming together and doing extraordinary things," she said. 

If you'd like to donate, you can do so on the Branches GoFundMe page.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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