For students, the 2020 school year has been anything but normal.
But if there is one thing Cameron Heyward wanted to try and bring to area students it's just that, normalcy.
Heyward, through his Heyward House Foundation, has worked with Urban Pathways Charter School for several years and on Wednesday he continued his commitment to the students there with a backpack distribution. While the students are taking part in virtual learning, Heyward wanted to make sure they still got to enjoy the things that they always have.
"I think you want to simulate a regular school year and experience," said Heyward. "We are just trying to help with that. We understand families are struggling. Children want some reminder of what it was like before. Providing backpacks and handing them out, and then providing meals, an after school meal is part of the program we have been doing. We are just trying to do our part."
The backpacks are filled with supplies for the school year as well as snacks for the kids, a little something for them to be able to enjoy during trying times as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact their young lives.
"Growing up there are always children that need an extra hand," said Heyward. "We want to be that hand that provides things to them. We feel like it's tough on families right now. We don't know when the end is near, but we want to put people in good spirits."
A total of 350 backpacks were packed and distributed by the Heyward House Foundation, with Heyward's mother, Charlotte Heyward, overseeing a drive-up distribution of them.
"It's extremely important to do this," said Charlotte Heyward, who serves as the Executive Director of the Heyward House. "We have been consistent in supporting Urban Pathways and we wanted to make sure that consistency was there this year. We want them to know we still care, and we want them to do the best they can while doing school virtually. We wanted them to know The Heyward House is always going to be there for Urban Pathways."
Parents were given staggered times to pick up their backpacks, making sure everyone was safe and following all of the guidelines while sharing some love.
"Giving back is huge right now," said Charlotte Heyward. "There are a lot of people struggling. Even though nonprofits are going through their own challenges, when you have an opportunity to give back it's extremely important to do it and support our community during these challenging times."