News 12 at 11 o'clock / Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Brand new book bags filled the living room at Richmond County PTA president Monique Braswell's home.
"These are true elementary school bags. They look like this until you open them and then when you open them, they look like this," said Braswell as she held up the ruined book bags.
As they pulled the bags out of the packages, Braswell found more problems.
"Bags with no zipper, broken zippers, already ripped, some not even sewn together," she said.
Almost 700 Pre-K and elementary school book bags were shipped from a company, Dollar Days, ripped, broken and covered in mold and mildew.
"I just cry because the kids didn't deserve that, they just didn't deserve that," Braswell said. "[They] almost made it home to needy families, and I was just devastated."
Devastation that she says was saved by a simple informational card that they were stuffing into every bag.
"Hypothetically, we would have just passed them on to the family [in the packaging], never opening it up. So it was because of these cards that we even realized it was a problem," she said.
The book bags will be handed out at next Saturday's back-to-school event. All the bags are free to the kids in the community and were bought with money raised by the PTA.
"This was money that was raised in the schools that was giving back into the community by the schools," Braswell said.
After talking to the company's vice president, they've agreed to replace all the book bags and send back hundreds more.
Braswell says none of these setbacks will affect the event.
"The event is definitely going to go off and it's going to go off with 2,500 plus book bags," she said.
Braswell says she won't feel relieved until all the book bags are here and checked. They have one more shipment arriving Monday and the replacement shipment will be in on Tuesday.
The community back-to-school kickoff runs from 1 to 4 p.m. next Saturday at the James Brown Arena.
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