MEQUON (WITI) -- They're a fun accessory found at Sendik's that's helping thousands of children kick-off the school year.
Shopper Bob Schuemann and his sons are more than happy to help the cause.
"Any time we can keep these boys happy and help out children that need a little bit extra for the school year that`s a great program," said Schuemann.
Since 2008, Balistreri owned Sendik's Food Markets and Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin have been selling Backpack Buddies, to purchase backpacks filled with supplies to give to children in need.
"The key to a successful education starts with a pencil, if you can`t have those supplies it sets you on the wrong path from the get go," said Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin Communications Manager Gina Styer.
So far 7,000 backpacks have been distributed to 1st through 3rd graders in Milwaukee Public Schools.
"More than 50% of children in the Milwaukee Public School District are utilizing the free and reduced lunch program, which is a real indicator of poverty in the schools," said Styer.
Two of the cute little critters are sold for $10 and 100% of the proceeds goes towards the effort.
Then come fall, children at select MPS schools are surprised with the gift.
"They are beyond excited first to just put the backpack on itself but then they open it and they have no idea how many supplies are in there. And it`s very exciting because it`s theirs and theirs alone," said Balistreri owned Sendik's Food Markets Owner Margaret Harris.
It's just one extra item in the shopping cart that make a world of difference.
Backpack buddies are sold at 12 Balistreri owned Sendik's Food Markets.
They will be available through September 2nd.
To find a Sendik's store near you, click here.
Click here to see pictures of the 2014 Backpack Buddies collection.
If you're interested in making a contribution to the Backpack Buddies program, click here.