Washington State University collected more than 7,000 Backpacks for Hope as part of its continuing effort to help those impacted by two Gulf Coast hurricanes.

Oct. 8, the date of the WSU home football game against Stanford, was the final day of the backpack collection effort, which started in September.

The backpacks for school age children contain school supplies, stuffed animals, journals, notebooks and children’s age-appropriate books. WSU partnered with the One Sweet World Foundation of former WSU football player Steve Gleason of the New Orleans Saints and his mother, Gail Gleason, WSU education graduate student.

As part of the effort, Dawn Shinew, College of Education associate professor, said the college sold nearly 500 books for the backpacks. Additional books for backpacks were sold during the College of Education Book Fair earlier last week.

Tom Brigham, co-chair of the university’s Katrina Relief Task Force said, “This was a much more personal experience for those who donated backpacks and supplies rather than simply donating money to the foundation. Many people put notes along with their names in the backpacks.”

According to Brigham, the New Orleans Saints football team, led by Steve Gleason’s One Sweet World Foundation, will be personally distributing backpacks on Tuesday, Oct. 11, and Gail Gleason will be attending.

“The outpouring of contributions by members of the extended university and state community is heartwarming. I have been particularly touched by the many stories of Washington school children assembling backpacks for their peers,” said Melanie Brown, task force co-chair. She also noted the dedicated efforts of students involved with the university’s Community Service Learning Center, which she directs.

For information about WSU hurricane relief efforts, contact the WSU Community Service Learning Center at (509) 335-7708.