BUFFALO, N.Y. — Back to school time is just a few weeks away, and while many kids will have backpacks filled with new notebooks, markers, and pencils, there are many that would go without, if not for the 2 Pack a Backpack drive.

Tammi Foster is a 6th grade science teacher at School 94 in Buffalo. During the summer she is a Say Yes teacher at the Boys and Girls Clubs Masten Clubhouse, and she used to be a club director.

She's worked with hundreds if not thousands of kids, and she sees the need firsthand — refugee children whose families came to U.S. with nothing, kids in poverty, and single parents, who despite working multiple jobs, have a tough time making ends meet.

"It's a have and have not situation. Kids can be mean [when they see kids who are less fortunate]. The only thing we can do as a teacher is what I do — have extra school supplies. That's what a lot of our teachers do," said Foster. 

Foster estimates she has spent thousands of dollars of her own money over the years to buy supplies so her students have what they need to succeed. 

"It's preparedness and self-esteem, having that student on the same level playing field as everyone else," said Foster. She said fresh, new supplies gets students excited about school and learning. "There's nothing that can stop them with the right preparedness and the tools they need," said Foster.

Foster said the generosity of the Western New York community is beyond heartwarming and gets kids off on the right foot, for the school year and beyond.

"You have all this fresh new stuff. You don't know what's on the horizon, but you're excited that you have it," said Foster.


Teens get life, job experience at Massachusetts Avenue Project on Buffalo's West Side

Teenagers could be hiding drugs in plain sight without parents knowing it

Experts say bulletproof backpacks may not be the best idea for students