If you still have doubts, even after looking at the calendar, that it’s almost time for schools to reopen, those doubts could be cleared up by checking in with the “Backpacks to School” program created by Family Services of Westchester (FSW).
On Aug. 8, volunteers gathered at FSW’s The Sharing Shelf warehouse in Port Chester to assemble backpacks filled with school supplies that will be distributed before Labor Day to children from more than 30 school districts. On Aug. 12, more than 75 volunteers gathered at the Broken Bow Brewery in Tuckahoe for another afternoon of stuffing backpacks with everything from composition books and folders to markers, crayons and pencils. Eastchester’s firefighters, police and volunteer ambulance corps were among those who turned out.
FSW notes that in 2016, the average cost per child for school supplies was $122, an enormous sum for low-income families and those living below the poverty level. When the “Backpacks to School” program was launched in 2011, 200 backpacks were distributed. By 2016, that had grown to 1,100 backpacks, which also is the number to be distributed this year.
FSW works with the Westchester Department of Social Services to make sure the backpacks get to the children who need them the most.
Funds to support the program come from individual donors as well as companies such as SwissRe, Regeneron, American Institute of Architects, Hitachi and Dechert LLP.