4-H Member Runs Successful Backpack, School Supply Drive

Makaylie Cook
Makaylie Cook

The last time local media interviewed Makaylie Cook she had a goal to raise enough money to donate 200 backpacks full of school supplies to foster families around the state.

Operation Backpack is the name of the organization that Makaylie created for her 4-H Emerald Star Project.

The 15-year-old Antelope 4-H member living in Tehama County, California joined forces with Robin Freisheim, from Children First Foster Family Agency. Once the pair got going there was no stopping them.

Their initial goal was to reach enough money for 200 backpacks before the first day of school. On Tuesday, Makaylie announced that her grand total was over 300 backpacks. Each was full of school supplies.

Makaylie says it feels like an eternity since she started her project.

“My goal was only 50 backpacks and I learned about all the other counties and how many kids were in the counties and I just kept increasing it by 50 and finally I hit 200 and I was like, ‘that’s my goal’. I want to reach that and now I’m where I’m at right now and its a great goal to be at,” said Makaylie.

Operation Backpack distributed the donations to foster children living in Shasta, Tehama, and Siskiyou Counties.

Those helping her were never in doubt

Makaylie says she doubted herself in the beginning. Those who worked closest to her like Robin Freisheim say they never doubted.

“Not so often do we get children like Makaylie who come in who are just ready and willing to give back to the community. It is very inspiring. She is a good role model for foster kids, for Tehama County 4-H kids, anybody really anywhere,” said Freisheim.

Makaylie hopes to continue Operation Backpack next year. She would also like for her younger siblings to get involved once she leaves Antelope 4-H.

“It was just a great experience. I’ve never done anything like that and it was just something I have always dreamed about,” said Makaylie.

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