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Five year old collects over 700 backpacks for those in need in 2018 and plans to collect 1,000 more in 2019

Five year old collects over 700 backpacks for those in need in 2018 and plans to collect 1,000 more in 2019 

(Woodbury, NJ) -- Five year old Austin "The Backpack Buddy" LeConey was honored by the Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders with a proclamation on Wednesday, Dec. 19 for his hard work and commitment in collecting backpacks and school supplies for The Unforgotten Haven Backpack Drive.  The Unforgotten Haven Backpack Drive is in association with the group's Book Bagg’n It Project that works to collect backpacks and other essential school supplies for children in need.

Austin was just three years old when his parents Joe and Meredith LeConey introduced him to the idea of giving back and he began collecting backpacks and other supplies for other children and their families.

Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger said, "Austin’s hard work shows that no matter how old we are, we can make a difference in the world."

Damminger said that Austin collected 24 backpacks the first time he participated in the drive, raising his record to 67 backpacks the next year. In 2018 he set a goal for 100 backpacks and far surpassed that goal with 711 backpacks and ten boxes of school supplies.

Freeholder Jim Jefferson said, “Austin’s determination brought his community together in an effort to help those less fortunate to start their school years just as confident as the rest of their classmates. Through social media, he was able to attract attention all over the country, encouraging a variety of people to join in and support his effort by shipping backpacks and supplies to his door.” Jefferson serves as the Liaison to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Jefferson said, “Austin has set his goal for 2019 at 1,000 backpacks, and through his determination and active help from all over the country, there is no doubt he will meet and potentially surpass his goal staying true to his mission to help as many children as possible.”

Pictured: Joe, Meredith, and Austin LeConey and Freeholder Jim Jefferson