STAMFORD, Conn. – The Volunteer Center looks forward to the beginning of school every year. Bridget Fox, vice president of volunteerism at the center, and others help get the new year off to a good start by distributing backpacks stuffed with school essentials and clothing to needy students.
Area businesses provide the supplies and clothes for The Back To School Clothes For Kids drive. The backpacks include grade appropriate tools along with two new outfits, sneakers, socks and a winter coat. This year, 98 students in grades K-5 from Toquam Magnet School will get backpacks with contributions from 18 Stamford companies.
“I think we all get a sense of satisfaction and gratification out of it,’’ Fox said. “An 8-year-old boy who enjoys Batman will get something in his backpack related to that and it just makes his day.”
Local companies donate the clothes and supplies at the schools. The businesses that donate the goods are not involved in the distribution. The improving economy for area business helped hike the number of backpacks that will be delivered this year by 10 percent.
Fox said The Volunteer Center, which is part of the United Way of Western Connecticut, started delivering backpacks in 2004. “It’s something that we’ve orchestrated very quietly,’’ Fox said. “We want to respect the families. We want them to feel comfortable.”
The supplies in the backpacks are particularly necessary as schools and teachers require more tools for learning to be purchased by families. “It’s an expensive time,’’ Fox said. “I think for the families that we service any help that we can provide is gratifying.”