‘Little Miss Flint’ raises money for 1K backpacks

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A 10-year-old girl known as “Little Miss Flint” helped gather and distribute more than 1,000 backpacks to Flint students after raising more than $10,000 in two weeks.
Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny partnered with nonprofit Pack Your Back to pass out free backpacks and supplies at the Mott Community College Event Center on Aug. 6, the Flint Journal reported.
“We need to help kids in Flint that can’t afford a backpack or school supplies so the people can go to school,” she said. “School is important. Education is life.”
Mari first attempted the #PackYourBackChallenge on Twitter last year by gathering 100 backpacks.
“She amazes me with every new task that she throws at me. She wants to do backpacks, we’ll do backpacks. She wants to get to the moon, we’ll try to get her to the moon,” said LuLu Brezzell, Mari’s mother. “Whatever she’s down for in her goals, I guess I’m just along for the ride. I will do everything in my power to make it possible.”
Local teachers will receive the leftover backpacks and school supplies that were not picked up that day to distribute among students in need in the first week of school.
Central Michigan University student Galen Miller said he founded Pack Your Back after he brought a semi-truck filled with bottled water to Flint in March 2016, and witnessed a need based on how the water crisis affected Flint residents.
“No child should have to go through this, and I knew we had to help more,” Miller said. “Our goal is to enhance the educational experience for underprivileged students in Michigan by giving them the tools and resources to succeed in the classroom.”
Mari said providing backpacks is a way to continue to build Flint back after the water crisis. But she doesn’t want people to lose sight that there’s still work to be done on that front.
“Flint kids are amazing, but we’re still dealing with the water crisis, and somebody needs to fix all of these pipes,” Mari said. “I don’t like using bottled water for everything, and I miss taking baths in clean water.
“The water now still gives me bad rashes, and it smells like fish and stinky old feet. They need to fix it for us kids.”
Pack Your Back will also have an event in Detroit Aug. 12 at the Detroit Public Library’s main branch.