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'Lion King' star JD McCrary gives out backpacks to Belle Glade students

Posted: 12:44 PM, Aug 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-16 18:21:36-04
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BELLE GLADE, Fla. — Students at Glade View Elementary School in Belle Glade started off the school year on a high note.

It was nothing short of a party at the school's cafeteria on Friday.

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Hundreds of little smiling faces walked across the cafeteria and down the hall to choose their favorite color backpack thanks to Office Depot's Start Proud program, which helps schools in low income communities.

"It’s just a beautiful thing," said Jerri DeVard, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer for Office Depot. "Giving back to the community is not only about writing a check, but it’s about being present."

500 students not only got to walk away with a brand new backpack for the start of the school year, but they were also equipped with everything they need to be successful like notebooks, colored pencils, a ruler, and glue, just to name a few.

"Office Depot is not just providing backpacks, they are giving kids dignity and hope," said James S. Gavrilos, President/CEO of the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County. "This is the work of The Education Foundation, connecting our business partners to the world of education to prepare our students for success."

Principal Shundra Dowers said she couldn't be happier knowing her students will start the school year with everything they need.

"We are truly grateful and thankful for all that they’ve done for us," said Dowers.

The icing on the cake was a special guest appearance by 12-year-old star JD McCrary, the voice of young Simba in Disney’s new feature film, 'The Lion King.'

"It’s really cool being able to talk to my peers, my youth, and it’s just really amazing that I can show that you can do this. You can do what I’m doing at your age. You can do whatever you set your mind to,” said McCrary.