SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A local high schooler is on a mission to make a difference in the community, one backpack at a time.

When 16-year-old Lilli Apt noticed a majority of students enrolled in summer camps in Chatham County arrived with nothing more than a plastic bag, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

“Savannah Backpack Mission is a nonprofit organization that I started that’s goal is to raise money for low-income children attending summer camps each year in the city of Savannah,” said Lilli. “And with that money, we buy Nike drawstring backpacks as well as reusable water bottles.”

Lilli has collected over 400 bags through the Savannah Backpack Mission. All of the backpacks she is unable to hand out over the summer, she plans to donate to the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System for the upcoming school year.

Water bottle handout at the Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club (photo: Savannah Backpack Mission)

“I love giving back, and I love the fact that I can help others and really have the opportunity to meet people who are like me but also not like me because they don’t have the equal opportunity that I do,” Lilli said. “It’s really amazing to see people so happy, and I really love doing it.”

She described the process of gaining the status of a nonprofit as challenging but one that will only help support her cause in the coming years.

“Initially, I wanted to hand out backpacks during the school year for underprivileged children, however, there were a lot of organizations in Savannah that already did that. So I figured the next best thing was summer camps,” said Lilli. “I went to summer camps every year as well, from age 6 to age 16 now, and I always had the opportunity to be able to have the supplies I needed. And I realized there are a lot of kids that don’t have that opportunity.”

According to Lilli, the looks on the kids’ faces once they receive the Nike drawstring bags make it all the more worth it.

“That’s my favorite part, honestly, seeing the kids and being able to see their reactions when they get them. They’re so happy and grateful,” she said. “Some of them give me hugs, they all say, ‘thank you,’ and actually I visited one of the athletic camps the next day at Savannah High School, and the kids were actually using the backpacks and the water bottles.”

Lilli hopes to continue the Savannah Backpack Mission for years to come, and plans to pass the nonprofit down to her little brother once he begins high school in the coming years.

To learn more about Lilli’s mission, you can click here to donate to her GoFundMe, or visit the Savannah Backpack Mission Facebook page or Instagram account.