By Colleen Mahoney

For the second time in as many years, the Great Valley Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary donated backpacks filled with school supplies for children in the Ellicottville Central School District.

Changing up the plan from last year, the organization approached the district to get a list of school supplies the students needed, then filled 10 backpacks with those supplies. Ladies Auxiliary President Toni Evans explained that each stuffed backpack was then given to the elementary school where they will be distributed to the students who need them.

“We knew that kids had needs in the school district, and most of us have kids that went through the school,” Evans said. “So we just decided to do something about it.”

Although Evans said she didn’t think the list given by the school was grade-specific, she said all the supplies donated will help to keep the students organized during class. And while it will help the students, members of the Auxiliary were excited to give back.

“The Auxiliary is experiencing a resurgence … this was all taken out of our funds,” Evans said. “It’s great to be in a position to donate the backpacks and supplies. It’s something we wanted to do, but lacked funds and membership.”

Over the past few years, the Ladies Auxiliary has grown from six to 15 members, according to Evans. She credits the firefighters offering the sale of tee shirts at the annual Great Valley Regatta to the Auxiliary as part of the increase. With the upped membership, the Auxiliary is in a better position to help out the surrounding community.

“We’re always eager to do community service,” Evans said. In addition to the backpacks, the Ladies Auxiliary also donates to Ellicottville Central School’s Project Christmas, as well as the Great Valley Summer Youth Program.

“We’re always on the lookout for things to do and help the community,” Evans said.

Anyone who has an idea for community service projects for the Auxiliary or who would like to become a member can contact Evans at (716) 301-5563.