LAKE ARIEL- Lake Ariel optometrist, Dr. James Tickner, Owner of Family First Vision Centers, is collecting new and gently-used book bags for area children. The program is called Book Bag Buddies.

A donation box will be located in the Family First Vision Center lobby on Route 191 in Lake Ariel. All book bags collected by Dr. James Tickner will be donated to area children in our community and its surrounding areas to be dispersed through local schools and churches.

Developed by Dr. James Tickner, Book Bag Buddies collects new and previously-used book bags and donates them to children who may not be able to afford them otherwise.

The collection box will be available for drop offs during business hours but if you need to make other arrangements for a donation or have questions regarding the program please feel free to call Dr. Tickner at his office (570) 698-4140.

Dr. Tickner is a former school teacher who understands the importance of giving children the best education possible. "While teaching, I remember feeling so upset for two children who carried books to and from school in paper grocery bags that I went out and bought school bags for each of them," he said. Every child deserves a good education and no child should feel like they don’t fit in, Dr. Tickner added.

"We have given out 279 book bags since we started this charity", stated Dr. Tickner. Book Bag Buddies has set an ambitious yet achievable goal for 2013-2014 school year: to collect 100 bags for local children.

"With the generosity of Lake Ariel, Honesdale, Hawley, New Foundland, Mt Cobb, Waymart and the surrounding communities, we hope to reach our target," he said. "And, more importantly, an even greater amount of local children will be able to carry books and supplies to school."

Book Bags Buddies needs gently used bags, from child through adult sizes and preferrably cleaned.

For more information on Book Bag Buddies please contact Dr. James Tickner at Family First Vision Center (570)698-4140. They are open Monday through Friday and alternating Saturdays.