United Way Distributes Backpacks and School Supplies to 600 School Children

Children in Ossining, Yonkers, Mount Vernon, Elmsford, Peekskill and Putnam County benefitted from School Supply Drive that netted $11,750 in donations

Approximately 600 students in Yonkers, Mount Vernon, Ossining, Elmsford, Peekskill, and Putnam County schools received backpacks and other school supplies in time for school thanks to the United Way of Westchester and Putnam. United Way of Westchester and Putnam (UWWP) collected the supplies during a “Back to School Drive,” as part of its Campaign for Grade Level Reading.

“This campaign is essential in setting students up for success,” said United Way of Westchester and Putnam President and CEO Alana Sweeny. “It also relieves a significant financial burden from working families who are already struggling to make ends meet.”

Most backpacks contained binders, notebooks, pens, and other school supplies to prepare students for the school year.  All items, worth approximately $11,750, were donated.

“We are incredibly grateful to our many donors, including Raymour and Flanigan, Costco, and numerous individual donors. “Sweeny added.  “We could not do this without their generosity.” UWWP collected the donations and distributed them at various events in the weeks before school opened.

“School supplies start adding up, especially when you have more than one child,” said Dionne of Yonkers, who is the mother of 5. “Getting the backpacks and other stuff through United Way let the kids start school off right and leaves us better able to pay our regular bills.

UWWP is a member of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR Campaign), a collaborative nationwide effort to improve early learning and early school success for children from low-income families.

The program seeks to promote literacy and ensure that children are on target with reading skills by third grade, a crucial milestone year. Sixty percent of low-income children do not have even one children’s book in the home and only 38 percent of children in Westchester and Putnam are reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.

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