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2,200 homeless children in Allegheny County get free backpacks

| Friday, Aug. 18, 2017, 11:06 a.m.
University of Pittsburgh students and volunteers Maureen Borten of Oakland and Yiting Huang of Sharpsburg load boxes filled with back-to-school backpacks. The Homeless Children’s Education Fund and UPMC Health Plan organized the free giveaway to families in need at UPMC's Distribution Center in Pittsburgh's South Side on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
University of Pittsburgh students and volunteers Maureen Borten of Oakland and Yiting Huang of Sharpsburg load boxes filled with back-to-school backpacks. The Homeless Children’s Education Fund and UPMC Health Plan organized the free giveaway to families in need at UPMC's Distribution Center in Pittsburgh's South Side on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017.
U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle stands at the loading dock as volunteers load boxes filled with back-to-school backpacks in an effort by Homeless Children’s Education Fund and UPMC Health Plan to provide homeless children in the region with school supplies at UPMC's Distribution Center on the South Side on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle stands at the loading dock as volunteers load boxes filled with back-to-school backpacks in an effort by Homeless Children’s Education Fund and UPMC Health Plan to provide homeless children in the region with school supplies at UPMC's Distribution Center on the South Side on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017.
University of Pittsburgh students and volunteers Maureen Borten of Oakland and Yiting Huang of Sharpsburg load boxes filled with back-to-school backpacks in an effort by  Homeless Children’s Education Fund and UPMC Health Plan to provide homeless children in the region with school supplies at UPMC's Distribution Center in Pittsburgh's South Side on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
University of Pittsburgh students and volunteers Maureen Borten of Oakland and Yiting Huang of Sharpsburg load boxes filled with back-to-school backpacks in an effort by Homeless Children’s Education Fund and UPMC Health Plan to provide homeless children in the region with school supplies at UPMC's Distribution Center in Pittsburgh's South Side on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017.

More than 2,200 Allegheny County children whose families lack stable housing or are grappling with severe financial hardship will benefit from free backpacks filled with school supplies.

The Homeless Children's Education Fund teamed with UPMC Health Plan to distribute the back-to-school backpacks, which included items such as notebooks, folders, crayons, pencils, calculators and USB flash drives.

Volunteers from the University of Pittsburgh and more than two dozen housing service providers and community groups accepted the gifts and loaded the backpacks into vehicles Friday morning at the UPMC Distribution Center in Pittsburgh's South Side.

The Homeless Children's Education Fund is a nonprofit that supports the educational needs of homeless children. Earlier this month, the organization relocated its headquarters to the Hill District after 19 years in the Strip District.

Countywide, estimates suggest more than 3,000 children are homeless, which includes families who double or triple-up with other families or live in hotels or their car.

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8514, nlindstrom@tribweb.com or on Twitter @NewsNatasha.

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