BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) — Back to school week is here and tens of thousands of students are returning to the classroom. In more than 40 local school districts, the first day of classes begins on Tuesday, with others starting later in the week.
Some students will return to the classroom with a new backpack and new materials thanks to one of their neighbors. Macaiah Brundige, 10, celebrated her birthday on Monday. Instead of throwing a party where she received gifts, she held a back-to-school raffle for other local kids getting ready for the start of the school year.
“Sometimes nowadays it’s just hard to get book bags or you don’t know what to buy. You don’t get papers that often, so I give them free book bags to help the community,” Macaiah said.
While most 10-year-olds would want a birthday party to celebrate themselves, Macaiah hosted an event for the entire neighborhood. She collected backpacks and school supplies to distribute to students who needed them. At her birthday party on Jefferson Ave. there was also free food, a bouncy castle and other freebies.
“I’m trying not to cry while you’re talking to me,” Macaiah’s father, Michael, said. “If someone that young wants to do that on their birthday while everyone else is trying to get the presents, even me on my birthday or Father’s Day, I want to have all the presents. But the fact that she has that in her heart is something special.”
Several students queued up to grab a bag, including Francesca Virella, 10, who starts fifth grade this week.
“Often I can’t really get enough school supplies because of all the siblings,” Virella said. “They’re older, so it’s kind of harder because they need more stuff.”
Isabel Van Dyne, 9, starts fourth grade this week and says she has the best teacher this year. She says it was difficult until Monday afternoon to find the exact school supplies she needed.
“We have paper, art supplies, folders, erasers and other stuff in the backpack,” Van Dyne said.
For Macaiah, it’s about being there for others who need help and defining what it means to come from the city of good neighbors.
“I love my community and just wanted to spread awareness,” Macaiah said. “If you help the community, they will help you.”
Macaiah hopes her event will inspire other children her age to help their communities. She encourages them to never give up.