The Back to School project has been running for the past 25 years under the direction of Larry and Ruth Orth, who retired last summer.  The project provides all the items on school supply lists — pencils, glue sticks, notebooks and much more — for underprivileged elementary students in the Cedar Valley whose families sign up each year in July. 

Over the years, the Back to School project has served 49,397 students, including those served multiple years. Last year alone, volunteers filled almost 3,500 backpacks with supplies for area students. There are thousands of families in the area that struggle with daily expenses and with the rising costs of school supplies, many simply cannot afford to provide the necessary supplies for their children's education. 

The Back to School attempts to lessen some of that burden and provide the students with the supplies and confidence they need when entering the new school year.   

After careful and calculated consideration, the Cedar Valley Jaycees Board of Directors voted to take over leadership of the project and continue the work that its predecessors have started.