Apparel companies donate backpacks to Nationwide Children's

A healthy child needs more than just a healthy body. Now, kids coming in for their first wellness visit at Nationwide Children’s Hospital will get hefty swag bags to further that goal, thanks to Central Ohio retailers Lane Bryant and Catherines.

On March 22, the companies—part of ascena retail group—donated 5,000 drawstring backpacks loaded with necessities to Nationwide Children’s as part of the hospital’s Reach Out and Read program, which seeks to foster early literacy.

Previously through Reach Out and Read, kids aged 6 months to 5 years who came in for their first wellness visit at the hospital received a literacy toolkit, which included three books, markers and other school supplies.

Now, with the donation, kids still will receive those same literacy kits, but they’re tucked into bags that also contain a jacket, two pairs of socks, a hat, gloves, toothpaste, a toothbrush and hand sanitizer. “Kids need that support and that push to learn to read every single day,” said Kathy Quickert, associate vice president of marketing for Lane Bryant and Catherines. 

To make sure the backpacks would be something kids actually wanted, the companies solicited designs from employees’ children. They received 30 submissions, which were voted on by patients at Nationwide Children’s. The top three vote getters were printed on the bags.

The backpacks are just one component in ascena’s ongoing partnership with Nationwide Children’s. The relationship fulfills the company’s philanthropic goal of “empowering women and children to be their very best,” Quickert said.