Tuesday, August 3, 2010

No Shortage of Help for Bristol Kids

When it comes to backpacks, Bristol's neediest kids ought to be covered pretty well.
There's a massive effort going on in several different sectors to collect backpacks and school supplies for children whose families can't afford to provide them.
The United Way will distribute about 400 packs to kids from kindergarten to eighth grade. They've found individuals, companies and organizations to "adop" one or more students and buy them a backpack, an outfit for the first day of school and supplies.
Donna Osuch, president of the United Way, said the packs are stuffed. She said the donors really get into it and often provide much more than is asked.
Though its volunteer and charity work called Team ESPN, the Bristol-based sports media giant will distribute about 300 packs to middle and high school students in Bristol -- and 500 more to needy kids in other areas where ESPN has a presence, said Rosa Gatti, a senior vice president. (Thanks, Rosa and ESPN, for thinking of Bristol teens, who often get forgotten in these kinds of collections. They need a hand, too, and their stuff costs more.)
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church is also collecting backpacks for kids of all ages. That's still going on, so if you've got the itch to join this backpack brigade, bring pencils, protractors, calculators, crayons, folders and more to the church.
Donations of any school supplies, packs or other items can be bought to the church at 355 Camp St. on Sunday mornings or between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.
If you're a family or a student in need, my best advice is to check with The Salvation Army to see if you can get some help. If they can't help, I'm sure they'll send you to someone who can.
Thanks to all who are helping make the start of school a little easier on Bristol's struggling families.

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