SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The 2022 Savannah Backpack Mission is back and better than ever.

Lilli Apt, 17, started the mission herself just one year ago when she recognized a need in the community —local kids showing up to summer camps without a backpack.

“I felt so lucky I was able to do this again this year, and even last night when we were getting ready with all the backpacks and water bottles, I felt so lucky to be able to give back to people and, the fact that I can actually make a difference in people’s lives even if its small.”

After such a successful first year, she decided to turn the Savannah Backpack Mission into a certified nonprofit, raising over $8,000 in the process, this year alone. That amounts to 500 Nike backpacks, 450 reusable water bottles and a whole lot of excited campers.

“I had a couple like probably the first day of camp asking about the Nike bags and I said, it’s coming… it’s nice to have people come in and take time with the kids, especially adding the ghost pirates this year is something different. I don’t know how many have gone to hockey games before but it was a nice addition to what was already being given out,” said Iris King, youth program coordinator for the city of Savannah.

Lilli and her team will distribute the backpacks and water bottles between 8 different summer camps, ranging from city to school-run camps of different sizes all across the city. They are even allowing Savannah’s newest sports team to get in on some of the fun.

“We were really excited to get linked up with Lilli and the Savannah Backpack Mission. We made a commitment when we came into the Savannah area to be a part of this community, and touch all areas and people who maybe haven’t been to hockey games before, or it’s the south so not familiar with the sport in general. But we want people to know that the Savannah Ghost Pirates are a part of their community,” said Bryan Sklover, Director of Community Relations, Savannah Ghost Pirates.

Following her second year, Lilli raised more than $10,000 for area summer camps from more than 70 donations.

In total, 650 backpacks and reusable water bottles were distributed throughout the summer.

Lilli is a rising Senior at Calvary Day School, with plans of one day becoming a doctor.

If you’d like to continue helping support Lilli or learn more about the Savannah Backpack Mission, you can do so by clicking here.