GARDEN CITY — For the second year in a row, the Russell Child Development Center received backpacks full of school supplies from Faith's Friends. These backpacks will be given to children transitioning from RCDC programs so they can have a fresh start for their schooling this year.


Faith's Friends began in 2016 after the death of Shannon Ulrich’s daughter, Faith.


"On Aug. 29, 2016, our daughter, Faith Nellie, was stillborn. When she died I promised not to let her be forgotten," Ulrich said. "I wanted to bring awareness of pregnancy and infant loss, and to spread love, hope, and kindness to others, so I started Faith’s Friends. Each year for Faith’s ’angelversary’ we choose an organization in the community that can help us achieve that."


This year, Ulrich and Faith's Friends chose to donate 30 backpacks full of preschool supplies, as well as many early childhood education toys, that can be used and later given to children in the 19-county service area.


"We chose RCDC because we knew they would be able to help many children," Ulrich said. "Children from birth to age 5 in every program they offer could benefit in honor of Faith. It brings us so much happiness and healing to be able to partner with different organizations each year. Thank you RCDC for partnering with us this year and keeping Faith’s memory alive."


RCDC staff welcomed the Ulrich family into the new facility to accept the donation and hear their story earlier this week. Early Intervention Program director David DeLoach said he was excited about the partnership with Faith’s Friends.


"RCDC is fortunate to have families contribute to the children in our community," DeLoach said. "These backpacks are greatly needed and appreciated. Thank you to the Ulrich family for their generosity."


More information on Faith's Friends and the Angelversary can be found on their Facebook page, facebook.com/FaithNellie.


Other opportunities to support RCDC can be found at rcdc4kids.org/ways-to-give or by contacting Scott Kedrowski, RCDC special initiatives director.


Russell Child Development Center is a community-based nonprofit organization and is the umbrella agency for early childhood programs in 19 southwest Kansas counties.