For many children, selecting a new backpack is a “rite of passage,” signifying the start of the school year.
What we may not realize is that many families struggle financially when it’s time to send their kids to school, and items, like a backpack, are an added cost to a tight budget.
For over two decades, the Moorestown Breakfast Rotary Club has been working to support Moorestown-area families in need by distributing backpacks filled with school supplies to students from kindergarten to eighth grade. Each September, the Rotary reaches out to local schools and asks for a list of students who would benefit from the backpack project, some of which are MEND tenants’ school-age children.
“Each year, there is a group of MEND tenants who benefit from the backpack project,” says Stephanie Blackwell, director of corporate administration for MEND. “Although the number varies each year, we’re over the moon that children are being helped in our community.”
As part of the project, the Rotary Club obtains a quality backpack and fills it with the necessary school supplies for a student’s grade level. From pencils, to rulers, to calculators, children receive everything they need to have a successful academic year.
“Every child deserves to have a good education,” says Stephanie. “We’re thrilled to be able to help in the distribution of these backpacks to ensure students start off on the right foot as they enter their new grade.”
The Moorestown Breakfast Rotary club has served over 3,000 students since the beginning of the project. This year, a total of 170 backpacks were filled with school supplies for Moorestown students. The total value of the supplies is $8,000.
For Stephanie and the MEND staff, this project aligns very well with MEND’s mission to provide affordable housing to residents of Moorestown and the surrounding area. “We’re so grateful to the Rotary Breakfast Club for their efforts each year to help those in need in our community, especially the families that we serve through our own services.”