Columbia area brothers Quinten, Maverick and Blake Greener look forward to the normal summertime activities, but they have also taken on a special summertime project, assembling backpacks and school supplies for children who need them.
The project was the brainchild of Quinten, 11, dreamed up while the boys were talking with their mother, Krystalyn Greener, about what to do with the spare time on their hands during summer vacation.
They are participating in Tuolumne County Recreation Department activities. They all play musical instruments they will spend time practicing, they have movie nights at home with their single mom, spend time with their dad, Joshua Greener, of the Cedar Ridge area, and they have chores.
Quinten said he got the idea of collecting backpacks and school supplies because he knows kids at Belleview School, where the brothers attend, who have trouble getting the bare necessities of life, let alone school supplies. He wanted to help.
They came up with a name for their project, “Kids Helping Kids.”
Quinten is president of the informal organization. Maverick, 9, is in charge of inventory and organization, Blake, 8, is communications director, and Krystalyn is the secretary.
They plan to fill 50 backpacks with supplies by July 23 so they can give them away by Aug. 8, before school starts.
They are asking stores for donations, and have donation barrels placed at two locations so far — the Baby Shoppe at 14821 Mono Way, and the Dollar Store in The Junction shopping center.
“I don’t think the boys had any idea what they were getting into,” Krystalyn Greener said. “It’s very complicated. They have to keep a tight inventory, and many of the stores would rather give money than supplies. We would really rather have the supplies.”
New or gently used items needed are backpacks or book bags, book covers, notepads, pencils, pencil sharpeners, erasers, binders, folders, dividers, pencil boxes or pouches, glue sticks, scissors,
lunch boxes, crayons, colored pencils, highlighters, calculators, lined paper, compass, index cards, paper clips, staples or tape and locks for lockers.
She said they prefer backpacks and supplies as donations, but money is being accepted and will be used to buy supplies that are not donated. All money will be tracked on their Facebook page,
They are sending out letters and going to businesses to ask for donations or a place to put barrels.
The Greeners’ motto is “You don’t have to have a lot to give a lot.”
They say they qualify as a low-income family themselves. Mom is a certified nursing assistant.
Jay and Marlys Bell, of Columbia, said Krystalyn Greener also does odd jobs for them at times, and they are very impressed at what she is teaching her children about serving the community.
“She is amazing,” Jay Bell said. “These kids already know how to be good citizens and how to take care of themselves when they grow up.”