By Karen Leigh

DENVER (CBS4) – Hannah Kutnick is setting an example for all of us.  For the past three years, the 12-year-old has organized “The Backpack Bonanza” to give school supplies to needy students.

Hannah Kutnick (credit: CBS)

“I’ve always got my own school supplies and I know not everyone can,” Kutnick said, “so I thought I could help them out with that.”

She was inspired by reading about another girl her age who had organized her own service project.

(credit: CBS)

Kutnick’s mother, Carla, offers some help but says it really is Hannah’s project.

“We sit together and work on a budget. The only thing I do that she can’t do is use my social media to post things. She really does the lion’s share of the work,” said Carla.

That work starts with fundraising, asking family and friends to support her cause financially. But Hannah puts her money where her heart is, donating her own money from holiday and birthday gifts.

After that, it’s time to buy the supplies.

(credit: CBS)

“We had to go to a bunch of different stores to get the best prices. We usually go talk with store managers and tell them about the project and ask them if they wanted to help in any way,” said Kutnick.

Once she gets the supplies lined up, it’s time to get the friends to help stuff the backpacks.

Kutnick works with Jewish Family Service to get the backpacks into the right hands. This year she joined the Service’s Lunchbox Express program.  It delivers lunches to low-income students.

(credit: CBS)

Kutnick went along for lunch Wednesday at the Hidden Brook Apartments, a low-income housing complex in Denver.

The children lined up outside the converted school bus to grab their backpacks and supplies, many skipping away with smiles on their faces and their hearts full of thanks.

(credit: CBS)

Kutnick has raised $7,800 for her Backpack Bonanza in the past three years but it’s not the fundraising that is her main mission, it’s the give-away.

“It’s really cool to see because you can actually see your hard work pay off,” said Kutnick.

Karen Leigh

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