Stamford, CT - Remember how much fun it was to shop for your back to school supplies? Well, imagine the excitement of 250 economically disadvantaged elementary school students who get to select their own brand new school items in a one day pop-up “department store” where everything is free!
The Back To School Shop, a community event organized to provide new school clothes and supplies to economically disadvantaged elementary school children, will have its 3rd annual event on Sunday, July 30, 2017 at Davenport Ridge Elementary School in Stamford. Children from kindergarten through fifth grade, who have been identified by elementary school social workers in the Stamford Public School System, will be able to select their own brand new items in a department store environment created just for them. Over 50% of Stamford students are considered economically disadvantaged and many return to school each year without basic clothing and school supplies. The mission of the Back to School Shop is to help build the confidence and enthusiasm these children need to have a successful start to the school year, by providing new school clothes and supplies.
The Back to School Shop runs from 10:00am until 3:30pm in the Davenport Ridge Elementary School gymnasium, which is transformed into a department store setting for the event. With the assistance of volunteer “personal shoppers,” each child is escorted throughout the store to select an entire new outfit including a shirt, pants, sneakers, socks, underwear, winter jacket, hat and gloves. In addition to the clothing, children are also given a new backpack, which they fill with school supplies, and books. Stamford author, Meira Rosenberg, will be on hand to sign her debut children's book, Indiana Bamboo, for those wanting to take a copy home. All of the items chosen by the children are provided at no charge.
While the children are shopping, their parents and caregivers can visit the on-site Japha Family Resource Center where they can pick up information about community resources and meet with representatives of nearly 20 participating community organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of Stamford, Child Guidance Center of Southern CT, Domus Kids, Stamford Departments of Health and Human Services, Ferguson Library, Connecticut Legal Services, Inspirica, and Kids in Crisis.
The Back to School Shop is an all-volunteer organization that was founded by two Stamford women, Meryl Japha and Jane Levene, who wanted to ensure that every child in Stamford experienced the excitement of getting ready to go back to school. They recruited a steering committee to help run the program, and secured the support of United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien, as well as the Stamford Public School System to provide administrative and logistical support. Volunteers purchase all of the clothing, backpacks and school supplies locally with funds raised from individuals, foundations and other organizations. Special thanks go to Platinum Star Sponsors Audrey Gaelen, and Meryl and Ron Japha and Gold Star Sponsors Charlesanna and Bill Ecker, Marc Gaelen, Nan and Paul Gordon, O. Berk Company of New England and Jason Mager. Thanks also to the Ferguson Library for
collecting school supplies for Back to School Shop participants.
The Back to School Shop event will be staffed with over 175 community volunteers who will act as personal shoppers, shoe fitters, section managers, translators, administrators and many other roles to help make the experience a magical day for the children.
For more information about the Back to School Shop, please visit its webpage. www.ujf.org/backtoschoolshop
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