The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Backpack project provides supplies for students


Ryan Jarvi/Daily Globe

MIKE ZACHARIAS, left, president of local manufacturer Extreme Tool and Engineering, hands Hurley Area Lioness Beverly Michaels a check for the Lori Lorendo Backpack Project. It provides school supplies to students in need. Extreme Tool employees raised more than $500 for the project and the company matched the effort with a donation. Also shown, standing from left, Brad Buccanero, Richard Brackney, Rob Paternoster, Jeff Zeller, Trevor Meinke and Dennis Higgins. Seated are Michaels, Chris Koski and Scott Niemi.

WAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP - Students in need of school supplies in the Ironwood and Hurley school districts will get a little help from a local business and the Hurley Area Lioness through its Lori Lorendo Backpack Project.

Extreme Tool and Manufacturing, of Wakefield Township, has donated more than $500 worth of school supplies, and a matching donation to the project.

Beverly Michaels accepted the gifts Thursday afternoon on behalf of the Lioness, and thanked the employees of Extreme Tool and president Mike Zacharias for the effort.

"I almost started crying," Michaels said when she pulled into the parking lot of the business and saw the big boxes full of backpacks and other school supplies.

"On behalf of the whole club, I really appreciate it," she told Zacharias.

The Hurley Area Lioness holds a 50-50 raffle to fund its scholarship program, and when the 2003 winner didntt claim the prize, the late Lorendo suggested purchasing hats, mittens and gloves for children in need.

The project grew to providing school-oriented supplies to students in need in 2005 and was officially named the Lori Lorendo Backpack Project in 2012.

Since 2005, 175 backpacks full of supplies have been delivered to the Hurley School District, valued at more than $4,000.

This year, the items were going to students in the Ironwood district, as well.

"This year, Rita Franzoi (a Hurley Area Lioness) thought of asking local businesses to help us out," Michaels explained.

The two wrote letters and mailed them out, and Zacharias was the first to respond.

"Bev asked us about supporting it, and I wanted to find a way to motivate our employees," Zacharias said, so he threw some Green Bay Packers club box tickets into the mix.

Zacharias said for every $20 invested in the project, his employees had an extra ticket entered in the hat, from which the winner would be drawn.

Employee Chris Koski was the lucky winner, and all together the crew raised more than $500, which the company matched in a donation.

"You have four or five different touch points that are all good things," Zacharias said of the project, mentioning the number of people involved. "A lot of kids were helped through that."

Michaels said she expects about 65 families to benefit from the project this year.


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