TRUMBULL — Backpacks for Hope grew out of last October’s Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.

“One of the activities was to create a project to help the community,” said Trumbull High School junior Sally Kirk. “So we created a project to distribute needed toiletries to the people in Stratford, Bridgeport and Trumbull, along with something that can be reused.”

Trumbull Rotary member John Coleman said the Youth Leadership Awards, held over three days, attracted about 100 high school-aged students. One of the exercises included separating the students into groups and assigning them a service project.

The Backpacks for Hope team has steadily refined their idea and now is ready to make a contribution to the public health and economy.

Kirk, the project leader, has organized a donation drive from Aug. 17 to Sept. 20 through the local YMCA. Because of coronavirus restrictions, the collection boxes will be placed outside the Trumbull YMCA on Trefoil Drive and at Camp Teepee on Stanley Road in Monroe, she said.

The students are looking for contributions of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and toothbrushes, deodorant and other toiletries and general hygiene products, in addition to new or gently used backpacks, she said.

Kirk said the group hoped to collect enough backpacks and supplies to donate 100 of them. The donations will be made through the YMCA’s Alpha Community Services and other homeless care organizations.