United Way of Northwest Louisiana, in partnership with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, will distribute 500 new backpacks to the Natchitoches Parish School Board, Tuesday, Oct. 2. This presentation will take place at the Natchitoches Parish School Board meeting, 310 Royal St., in Natchitoches at 5pm. The backpacks and supplies were collected by the South Central Region group of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Members as far as New Mexico donated supplies to K-12 students in Northwest Louisiana.

According to the ALICE (Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed) Study of Financial Hardship, 54 percent of that population is struggling to afford basic needs. It is a goal for United Way and Alpha Kappa Alpha to fight and reverse this statistic.

“Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority understands the value of an education and we’re proud to have such a large member base that supports the communities we live and work in. It’s an honor to partner with United Way to distribute these school supplies where they’re needed most,” said Sigma Rho Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Chapter President, Alice Cooper.

Nearly a quarter of children in Natchitoches Parish entering kindergarten are unprepared. In response, United Way of Northwest Louisiana offers a reading program to address the issue. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (DPIL) is available to all children under five years of age living in Natchitoches Parish. The program addresses early childhood literacy and helps children become kindergarten ready. This nationally recognized program provides every child who enrolls with an age appropriate book each month mailed to their home, creating their own personal library of 60 books over five years. It inspires families to read more frequently to their children and catalyze our community to invest more time, talent and treasures to better prepare children to enter kindergarten ready to succeed. United Way grant fundraising made this possible.

“Change doesn’t happen alone,” said Corporate Relations Manager of UWNWLA, Serena Gray. “One of my favorite things about the Natchitoches community is that no matter the issue, we unite to fight. This is just one example of how United Way NWLA and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority unite to fight for education.