Back-to-school backpack drive in full swing

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Mon., Jul. 25, 2011
The Glastonbury Human Services' Back-to-School Program is expected to distribute backpacks to 130 families this year. File photo by Steve Smith.
The Glastonbury Human Services' Back-to-School Program is expected to distribute backpacks to 130 families this year. File photo by Steve Smith.

Once again, the Glastonbury Social Services back-to-school program is gearing up to provide items to make sure local children are prepared for the first day of classes.

Outreach worker Katie Wilt said many of the town's programs – including the food bank and energy assistance – are being utilized by a large number of residents.

About 130 children are expected to participate in the program this year (up from around 110 last year) and will be able to choose their own items for their backpacks. Wilt said the children like to put their backpacks on right away, and enjoy selecting items they need.

“They get to pick what color backpack they want, and what color notebook,” she said. “That part is really a special part of the program. The kids that come in are very respectful, and carefully make the decisions of the things they need and want. I think that's an important part of it.”

Wilt said that when families come to get their backpacks, it offers an opportunity for social services staff to interact with them and see if there are other ways they can help them.

The packs are primarily purchased through donated funds, although some local residents also donate the backpacks. Wilt said donations of toiletries are also being collected, in conjunction with the backpacks, and donations of gift cards are also welcome, so that families may purchase other back-to-school necessities.

Volunteers determine the age and gender appropriateness of the backpacks, and label them accordingly, so that they can be matched with children registered for the program. Wilt and other staffers utilize donated monies to obtain more supplies, as needed.

The deadline for donations is Aug. 11.

Wilt said any families wishing to donate, or who wish to learn more about participating in the program, should contact her at 860-652-7640.


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