Back-to-school shopping is seldom the grinning, hand-holding experience portrayed in TV and print ads.
Kids 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.
Fortunately, Westport’s Human Services Department is on the case.
Its annual Back to School program, offering supplies to eligible families, is underway.
The program provides gift cards to income-eligible families with children in the Westport schools. Families can then buy new backpacks and school supplies together. Actual new backpacks can be donated too.
Last year, 189 kids from 118 families received assistance. That’s about 10 full classrooms of kids.
The program depends entirely on the generosity of individuals and organizations. Tax-deductible monetary donations — of any amount — 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.
Gift cards of any amount to Target, Walmart and Staples Office Supply are appreciated too. They (and new backpacks) can be dropped off at Room 200 of Town Hall weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., now through August 18.
To find out if you qualify for assistance, contact Margaret Piheiro at 341-1050, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.