News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 26, 2013

Mayor hosts backpack program fundraiser

Staff Report
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A Founder’s Day Ball hosted by Mayor Duke Bennett was expected to raise more than $10,000 to benefit the Vigo County School Corp. backpack program.

The program sends food home with needy students on weekends.

“We’re starting something new this year,” Bennett said. The event celebrates the city’s founding and also raises money for a local charity.

“This year, we picked the backpack program,” he said.

About 300 people were expected to attend the event at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. The event was a sellout within 11⁄2 weeks, Bennett said, and he expects it to move to a larger venue next year so more can attend.

“It’s pretty amazing,” he said.

The featured speaker for the evening was Tommy John, who talked about growing up in Terre Haute.

Susan Eisman, media specialist at Terre Haute North Vigo High School, was honored for starting the backpack program.

The event also included a musical group for dancing and entertainment.

Dan Tanoos, Vigo County School Corp. superintendent, said the backpack program now exists in all schools and serves about 600 students a week.

The school district receives “overwhelming” support from the community, and in this instance, “The city of Terre Haute is rallying around our most needy students by donating money raised to the backpack program,” he said.

The financial support for an important cause “is really appreciated,” Tanoos said.