Online groups team up to deliver backpacks & school supplies to Burrillville students


BURRILLVILLE – Two social media groups that have goals of helping out their neighbors are collaborating to deliver school supplies to Burrillville students who need them, and have collected more than 160 backpacks filled with pens, pencils, notebooks, markers, glue and more to hand out to local kids.

Facebook groups Burrillville Rocks and Burrillville Helping Burrillville held an event to raise funds for the supplies, and have also collected donations from others in the community.

“Donations are piling in and bags are being assembled,” said Jocelyn Theroux, administrator of the “helping,” group. “Our town has come together in such a big way.”

Theroux says she started the group earlier this year in hopes to create a safe place where people can reach out to help others, or to get support.

“This site is meant to help those in the community struggling or having a hard time,” Theroux said, noting that she, and other organizers Amanda Desjardins and Steph Hebert, have already been able to help several families who reached out. The group also raised $400 from a lemonade stand, which was donated directly to “A Wish Come True” foundation.

Burrillville Rocks was started four years ago by resident Roger Bourbonniere as part of the international “Kindness Rocks,” project. The movement aims to raise spirits by hiding rocks painted with colorful images and positive messages for others to find.

Led by Bourbonniere, the Burrillville chapter has remained popular, and kept a charitable focus, with rock painting starter kits handed out to local kids, and painting drives organized to target specific groups with good cheer, such as nursing home residents isolated during the pandemic.

The groups hosted a community yard sale that raised nearly $700 for the supplies, and is now reaching out to families who might need them. Those who would like a backpack filled with school supplies is instructed to contact the groups via Facebook on either the Burrillville Rocks or Burrillville Helping Burrillville Facebook pages.

“We are here for a helping hand,” said Theroux.

Theroux said the groups hope to set up a distribution event sometime in August and that any remaining backpacks will be distributed to Burrillville schools.  

They are also still collecting supplies. Drop off sites have been set up and anyone who would like to donate supplies can leave them at bins located at 243 Garvy Ledges Lane in Pascoag or 1183 Victory Highway in Oakland.

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