“Backpacks to School” Kick Off

The Sharing Shelf launches its 13th annual Backpacks to School initiative to provide new backpacks and new schools supplies to under-resourced children and teens.

The Sharing Shelf officially launched its 13th annual “Backpacks to School” initiative on Wednesday, August 9, 2023. County Executive George Latimer was on hand together with County Legislator Nancy Barr, Commissioner Leonard Townes and David Toledo, Westchester County Department of Social Services Director of Operations.

Our goal – fill 1,500 new backpacks with school supplies for under-resourced children and teens in Westchester County. Each summer, The Sharing Shelf receives support and collaboration from individuals, community groups, and businesses county-wide to ensure Westchester’s most economically vulnerable children and teens have the tools they need to learn and thrive.

In less than a month, students will return to school in need of backpacks stocked with items for the year’s classes and projects – pens, pencils, notebooks, folders, composition books and more.  New kindergarteners start school, anxious to meet their teachers, ready to make new friends and learn the joy of reading. For families with children living below the poverty line, this annual ritual is filled with stress as they balance the rising cost of food, shelter and clothing with the added expense of a backpack, pencils and pens to write with, calculators for geometry and science classes, or markers, colored pencils and crayons for projects and crafts.

Westchester County is a community with a mix of great wealth yet home to nearly 60,000 low-income children. In some of our communities, 8 in 10 public school students live below the poverty line or in low-income homes. This year, inflation and the rising cost of supplies has worsened the burden and the cost of supplies has risen nearly 5% since last year.

The Sharing Shelf initiative supports children and families receiving services from Westchester County Department of Social Services plus dozens of small nonprofits and public schools in the local community. To reach its goal, we need to raise $60,000 for backpacks and supplies. We welcome volunteers later this month into our Port Chester location to assemble the backpacks and assist with distribution.

New backpacks and grade-appropriate supplies are critical to the academic success of poor and low-income children and will allow them to return to school proud, prepared, confident, and ready to learn.

Click here to donate a backpack. Contact The Sharing Shelf Executive Director, Deborah Blatt or (914) 305-5950 to find out more about how to get involved.

The following local businesses are accepting donations of new backpacks and new school supplies through August 22, 2023: Club Pilates (New Rochelle and Scarsdale), Houlihan & Lawrence (15 Quaker Ridge Road, New Rochelle); Miller’s Toys (335 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck, NY 10543); Mama Village RX & Wellness, 430 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck, NY; Rye YMCA 21 Locust Avenue Rye, NY; Rye YMCA 1031 Boston Post Road, Rye; The Pamplemousse Project (24 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains); The Toy Box (300 W Boston Post Rd, Mamaroneck, NY 10543).