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Deidra’s Gift backpack drive is this Saturday

For the 11 short years Rita Robinson’s daughter, Deidra, was on this Earth, she had one dream – to help people.

In the 11 years since the child’s death in a car accident near Brewton in 2005, the Robinson family has worked to fulfill the child’s wish by hosting a backpack giveaway for area children.

“We call it ‘Deidra’s Gift’,” Robinson said of the effort to outfit some 300 area children with back backs filled with school supplies. “When Deidra died, my doctor said I needed to find something to help me. What I came up with was this. In the years since, it’s gone along way in helping me heal.

“She wanted to be a pediatrician,” Robinson said of her daughter. “She loved kids. She loved helping the elderly, too.”

Robinson, a Flomaton resident, said she’s done “a little bit of it all” to raise the funds needed to purchase the supplies.

“For a long time, we sold plates on the side of the road to raise money,” she said. “This year, thank God, Flomaton needed someone to run the rec league concession stand, so we got to keep the proceeds from that.

“I like to think we were doing what Deidra would like twice over that way,” she said.

The ministry has also evolved over the years to include providing Christmas to Brewton nursing home residents who don’t have local family, Robinson said.

“It really is our way of giving back in Deidra’s memory,” she said of all the efforts.

This year’s backpack drive will be held on Sat., Aug. 6, at Century’s Nadine McCall Roadside Park on U.S. Hwy. 29 beginning at 10 a.m. Anyone attending school in Escambia County is invited to get a backpack.

“All that we ask is when a parent comes to get a backpack, please bring the child,” Robinson said. “We just want to make sure that everyone who needs a backpack gets one.”