Thieves nearly derail 5th grader's selfless backpack drive

Backpacks have been pouring in to help an 11-year-old Santa Rosa boy fulfill his mission— one that was almost derailed.

"I feel lucky I get to do this," said Ryan Capparos.

The backpacks are headed for Costa Rica,
       
When Ryan was on a family vacation there last year he noticed the students couldn't afford backpacks, something he and his classmates took for granted.

"I know how it can be carrying massive binders. I know my binder is pretty big. And I felt really sorry for them and I wanted to help them out." said Ryan.

The fifth grader at Strawberry Elementary started a schoolwide backpack drive to help students in Costa Rica.

He hoped for 50 backpacks. He got 400.

"I just told them the story and they said 'oh, I'll help. Here.'"

But before he could get them to Costa Rica, more than 300 of the backpacks were stolen from his father's car in San Francisco.

"I started crying. It's pretty heartbreaking knowing rotten people would just do that," said Ryan.

But his faith in humanity was restored.
 
His family and friends posted what happened on social media. Almost immediately, backpacks started coming in, about 200 and counting, plus hundreds of dollars in donations.

The principal at Ryan's school says it's unusual for a child his age to have such a social conscience.

"Ryan did nothing but amaze me in his efforts. He's very genuine," said Josh Wilson.

Ryan and his family are planning to box up and deliver the backpacks and donations personally to schools in Costa Rica when they make a return visit in a few weeks.

"I don't feel good no one else is doing this, but I feel proud inside that I’m doing this. Because I feel it's really, really good thing and I’m happy," said Ryan.

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