ST. JOHNS, Fla. -

For a month, JCP Cares has collected items at various locations to provide "summer fun" backpacks to nearly 600 homeless students in St. Johns County. 

On Monday, there was a final push to collect items like coloring books, sunscreen and jump ropes to provide some entertainment to those children while school is out for the summer.

JCP Cares and the community raised nearly $500 and collected hundreds of fun and educational activities during the one-day drive at Memorial Emergency Care Center on Doctors Village Drive.  Anyone who didn't get by on Monday can still donate online.

"One thing may help make a child's summer. It may make a big difference," said JCP Cares found Kathy Bravo. "A smile is free. These things are a dollar."

"I felt I just needed to stop by and do this," said Linda Holt as she dropped off supplies. "Too many children don't have things they need. And you can't be educated without things you have to have, like paper, pens."

Terry Sheffield is one of many who stopped by the Memorial Emergency Care Center in Julington Creek and gave a donation to JCP Cares.  She was happy to be able to help, knowing the money would go to people in her immediate area.

"I wanted it to be in this area where I live and when I heard it was on television here I came straight here," Sheffield said.

Many think of St. Johns as a wealthy county, so it's hard for people to believe there are nearly 600 homeless students.

The students will receive their backpack in a few weeks, just in time for summer break. These will help keep them entertained and will also be educational so they won't be behind at the start of the next school year.

"No matter what hard times you are going through, there's always someone else who's hurting," said Joan Elian. "What better way than to help the children is to give from what you have and help our community become stronger."

Items needed:

  • Books
  • Craft items or kits
  • Coloring books & Crayons
  • Coupons for McDonald's, etc.
  • Non-perishable food
  • Drawing paper or pads
  • Sunscreen
  • Colored pencils or markers
  • Chalk
  • Fun pencils
  • Bubbles
  • Stickers
  • Water guns
  • Puzzle books
  • Small balls
  • Yo-yo's
  • Jump ropes
  • Handheld games or toys
  • Playing cards
  • Card games
  • Water colors
  • Frisbees
  • Beach Balls