Edwards, sponsor donate school bags

NASCAR DRIVER CARL EDWARDS JOINS OFFICE DEPOT FOUNDATION TO DONATE 6,500 BACKPACKS IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY 2008 National Backpack Program Is Helping South Florida Kids Get Ready To Succeed In School Miami, Fla., August 4, 2008 - Office...

NASCAR DRIVER CARL EDWARDS JOINS OFFICE DEPOT FOUNDATION TO DONATE 6,500 BACKPACKS IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

2008 National Backpack Program Is Helping South Florida Kids Get Ready To Succeed In School

Miami, Fla., August 4, 2008 - Office Depot (NYSE:ODP), a leading global provider of office products and services, and The Office Depot Foundation announced today that Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and a former substitute teacher in his hometown of Columbia, Mo., will join the Foundation on Wednesday, August 6, to donate more than 6,500 backpacks to non-profit organizations and schools in Miami-Dade County. Through its National Backpack Program, the Office Depot Foundation has provided nearly 1.8 million free backpacks to children since 2001.

The donations will be made during a special "Backpack Donation Day" event beginning at

2 p.m. at the Office Depot store located at 8950 S.W. 137th Ave. in Miami, Fla. In addition to Edwards, special guests are scheduled to include Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart; Laura Fatovic, Regional Director, representing Senator Bill Nelson; Viviane Bohorques, Director of Education and Policy, representing City of Miami Mayor Manuel A. Diaz; Wayne Carter, Assistant Director of Constituent Services, representing Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez; Maittee Manoah, Administrative Assistant, representing Commissioner Joe A. Martinez; and Mary Scott Russell, President, Chamber South.

Designated backpack recipients include:

* Best Buddies Florida

* FIU Holiday Celebration for Children

* CMB Visions Unlimited

* Bridging The Gap Organization

* Voices for Children Foundation

* Miami Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Community

* City Year Miami

* Miami-Dade County Public Schools

* Communities In Schools of Miami

* Upper Room Outreach Ministries of South Florida

* The Nat Moore Foundation

* New Hope Development Center

* Embrace Girl Power! After School Programs and Camps

* Kristi House

* Amigos For Kids

* Optimist Club of Kendall Hammocks

* CCDH

* 100 Black Men of South Florida

Through this year's National Backpack Program, the Office Depot Foundation -- an independent foundation that serves as the primary charitable giving arm of Office Depot -- is donating 300,000 backpacks to a variety of non-profit organizations and schools across the United States and Canada. The recipients, in turn, provide the backpacks to deserving children whom they serve through their programs or in their classrooms. The Foundation will also host backpack presentation events in Fort Lauderdale, Delray Beach and West Palm Beach on August 6.

"Education is the foundation for success, and I'm really excited to partner with Office Depot and the Office Depot Foundation for another season of backpack donations," said Edwards, who is sponsored by South Florida-based Office Depot. "Every student deserves to return to school with the tools they need to succeed, and the Office Depot Foundation is doing a great thing to make that happen for so many kids who might not otherwise have the necessary resources."

The 2008 backpacks come in five different color schemes, blending orange, blue, red, purple, green and -- for the first time -- pink. Designed primarily to meet the needs of students in grades K-5, the backpacks feature two front pockets and wide, padded straps for comfort and support. Each backpack contains a pencil pouch containing essential back-to-school items - a ruler, four crayons, a glue stick, a pen, a pencil, a pencil sharpener and an eraser.

Backpack recipients from previous years note that these donations make a significant impact.

"Please know that the Office Depot Foundation's commitment to children in need is most sincerely acknowledged and appreciated," said Velma Lawrence, executive director of the Embrace Girls Foundation in Miami. "Thank you all again for your corporate consciousness and commitment to many children and families in need across the land."

Office Depot Foundation President Mary Wong says that making a difference to children is precisely the point of the National Backpack Program.

"By placing backpacks containing essential school supplies into the hands of children, we are giving them important tools they need to start school with confidence -- and to succeed throughout the year," Wong said. "The National Backpack Program is one of the key ways in which we seek to accomplish the Foundation's mission -- Listen Learn Care™ - and to achieve our strategic priority of helping children get ready for life and work."

-credit: od

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Carl Edwards , Mario D