Backpack For A Cause

Back-to-school shopping is seldom the grinning, hand-holding experience portrayed in TV and print ads.

backpacksKids worry they’ll have the “wrong” notebooks or pens.  Parents fear they’ll forget something important, and their kid’s teacher will think they’re idiots.

Other Westporters have a deeper, more realistic fear:  They can’t pay for everything their kids need.

Every year that’s true.  In 2009, it’s truer than ever.

Fortunately, Westport’s Human Services Department is on the case.

Its annual Back to School program, offering supplies to eligible families, begins tomorrow.  It runs for a week.

The program provides new backpacks and school materials, as well as shoe gift cards, to low-income Westporters.  Last year, 186 kids from 99 families received assistance.  It doesn’t take Nostradamus to know this year’s numbers will be higher.

The program depends entirely on the generosity of individuals and organizations.  Tax-deductible monetary donations, made payable to “Families in Need Fund” (memo:  “Backpacks”) can be sent to, or dropped off at, Human Services, 110 Myrtle Ave. (Town Hall), Westport CT 06880.

Donations of new school supplies — including backpacks, that most visible fitting-in sign of all — can be made at Room 200 in Town Hall, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

To find out if you qualify for assistance, contact Margaret Pinheiro by phone (341-1050) or email (

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