Backpacks 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.

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 new backpacks and gift cards (Staples Office Supply, Walmart, Target) to income-eligible families with children in the Westport schools. Cash donations to the program are welcome too.

Last year, 181 boys and girls received assistance. Director of Human Services Elaine Daignault estimated the number as equivalent to 10 classrooms of kids.

“A growing number of Westport families face the burden of financial hardship,” she notes.

“Back-to-school time can be particularly stressful on a family budget. Thanks to generous Westporters, our department provides discreet assistance to families who want to give their children the best possible start to the school year.

“Parents can share in the excitement of back-to-school shopping with their children. And donors can be confident that 100% of their donations benefit their Westport neighbors.”

The program depends entirely on the generosity of individuals and organizations.

There’s a new online donation portal: click here. When you get to “Seasonal program name if applicable,” click “Back to School program” from the drop-down menu.

Tax-deductible monetary donations of any amount made payable to “Family Programs Fund” (memo: “Backpacks”), as well as gift cards, can be sent to: Human Services, 110 Myrtle Ave. (Town Hall), Westport CT 06880.

New backpacks and gift cards can be dropped off at the department offices, Room 200 in Town Hall, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., now through August 12.

To find out if you qualify for assistance, call 203-341-1050, or email

5 responses to “Backpacks For A Cause

  1. Milton, Edward


    Thank you, You truly make a difference in Westport! Beautifully written as always,

    So grateful,


  2. Dale Nordling

    “And donors can be confident that 100% of their donations benefit their Westport neighbors” Hmmm… Because Westporters wouldn’t want to help a needy family outside their own little conclave? It’s a sad selling point.

    • I think you’re taking this the wrong way, Dale. Westporters reach out in many ways to needy families in the rest of the county, state, country and world. I am guessing (without putting words in Human Services’ mouths) that they mean that none of the money goes to administrative or overhead costs.

    • Richard Fogel

      i know first hand that many Westport people help communities in need..There are many concerned good kind compassionate people in westport and throughout the USA.

  3. Dale Nordling

    I may have jumped to a wrong conclusion. I hope you’re correct Dan.