OLEAN, NY -- Olean General Hospital employees packed 250 backpacks this week with a variety of school supplies which will benefit area elementary students this school year.

The donated backpacks will be distributed to students who might otherwise go without necessary school supplies. In its eighth year, the program benefits students in Olean, Delevan, Friendship, Hinsdale and Allegany-Limestone schools. Students receiving the backpacks will find items such as pencils, erasers, scissors, paper, crayons, rulers, glue sticks and folders to start the school year. All items are donated by employees at OGH.

“The backpack program is ‘near and dear’ to our hospital staff as they want to assure that area elementary students are able to start their school years with the support and supplies that will help them  succeed academically. Our staff members don’t believe that school children should have to go without needed school supplies because their families may not be able to afford them,” said Timothy J. Finan, president, chief executive officer, UAHS, OGH, Bradford Regional Medical Center.

The backpack program is part of the hospital’s Community Connections initiative, a program where employees volunteer their time to educate the community on a variety of health and wellness issues to promote healthier lifestyles and address community health, safety and social needs in the hospital’s service area.