JEANERETTE — Seventh and eighth graders at Jeanerette High preparing for the new school year were treated to free backpacks Thursday morning outside the school’s auditorium.

There were 150 packed backpacks with supplies for the incoming students, thanks to teacher Sarah Olivier’s reaching out to a local organization whose mission is to help students with supplies.

Olivier said that last year she and her class had a big problem because school supplies that weren’t available.

“Last year it was frustrating for them and for me, so this year I wanted to make sure they all had supplies,” she said.

Olivier said she asked for donations from a neighborhood Facebook page, and eventually got in touch with an organization that specializes in the problem.

Corlice Mims with the Mims Family Matters Foundation talked to Olivier and said the foundation would be able to cover the class expenses.

“I gave her the list, she not only covered the class but all of seventh and eighth grade,” Olivier said.

Mims, who was helping distribute the bags at Jeanerette Senior High, said about 150 bags were distributed to the students. Reactions raised from huge smiles to quiet “thank yous” as students filed in a line and picked backpacks up one by one.

Mims, who grew up in New Iberia and now lives in Houston, started the Mims Family Matters Foundation as a way to help economically disadvantaged children.

After orientation that was held over two different time blocks Thursday, students filed out of the auditorium and into the lobby where volunteers for the Mims Foundation and Olivier were on hand to help distribute the backpacks filled with school supplies.

Previous projects the Mims Family Matters Foundation worked on in Iberia Parish include partnering with Pesson Elementary to connect with five families and supply them with things they needed.

That effort included housing, job placement, food, clothing, school supplies and more.

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