CUMMING, Ga. (AP) – A Georgia teacher found a way to help needy students even after she was gone.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Tammy Waddell died June 9 after a prolonged illness. Instead of flowers, people brought backpacks filled with school supplies to her June 12 funeral.

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Her family said helping children in need was her passion, and the donated supplies were her last request.

Waddell worked as a paraprofessional and teacher in Forsyth County schools.

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The backpacks are to be distributed through Project Connect, a school district initiative to help students in need.

Forsyth County schools spokeswoman Jennifer Caracciolo said in a statement that Waddell loved children. Caracciolo said: “The generous backpack/supplies donations in her memory is a touching tribute.”

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