North Coast Community and Schools distributed 1,300 backpacks to all Clatsop County students in kindergarten through second grade.

Since 1997, the nonprofit organization helped county students start the year with supplies and backpacks, program director Karna Cupples said.

Costco donated the backpacks filled with binders, pens, pencils and gluesticks. McDonalds donated rulers. Tongue Point Job Corps students volunteered to stuff the backpacks in August. Geno's Pizza donated lunch for them.

North Coast Community and Schools, which has been operating since 1994, is searching for people to participate in a lunch buddy program. Participating adults donate an hour of their time to meet with at-risk kids during their lunch. Currently 40 lunch buddies meet with 43 children in county schools, Cupples said.

Last year, children who had lunch buddies saw improvement in many categories. Discipline problems decreased 70 percent, attendance improved 50 percent and academic performance improved across the board, Cupples said.

Each school still needs people to meet with students.

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