Back To School Shop: Back To School Shop, a community event organized to provide new school clothes and supplies to economically disadvantaged elementary school children, will celebrate its 5thanniversary at its annual event on Sunday, July 28, 2019 at Davenport Ridge Elementary School in Stamford. To mark the occasion there will be some special treats in store for children and volunteers alike, and 5-year donors and volunteers will be recognized. “We are so proud of what we have been able to accomplish these past 5 years, as an all-volunteer, non-profit organization,” said Co-Founder Meryl Japha. “At our first event we served 125 children. This year we are expecting to serve 350!”
Children from kindergarten through fifth grade, who have been identified by elementary school social workers in the Stamford Public School System, will be able to select their own brand new items in a department store environment created just for them. All of the clothing, backpacks and school supplies are purchased by volunteers with funds raised from individuals, foundations and other organizations.
“Over 50% of Stamford students are considered economically disadvantaged and many return to school each year without basic clothing and school supplies,” says Jane Levene, Co-Founder of Back to School Shop. “We are tremendously grateful for the many volunteers and donors who join us to ensure these children are able to choose new items for school, and we hope that it helps to give the children the confidence and enthusiasm they need to start the school year successfully.”
The Back to School Shop event is held in the Davenport Ridge Elementary School gymnasium, which is transformed into a department store setting for the event. With the assistance of volunteer “personal shoppers,” each child is escorted throughout the store to select new clothing for the upcoming school year including shirts, pants, sneakers, socks, underwear, winter jacket, hat and gloves. In addition to the clothing, children are also given a new backpack, which they fill with school supplies, and age appropriate reading books. All of the items chosen by the children are provided at no charge.
While the children are shopping, their parents and caregivers visit the on-site Japha Family Resource Center where they can meet with representatives of community organizations, who provide information about important services that may be available to them. Among the many organizations that will be on hand are the following, which have all participated each year since the inception of Back to School Shop: Stamford Office of Family and Community Engagement; Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut; Domus; Kids in Crisis; Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America; The Ferguson Library Book Mobile and the Stamford Fire Department.
Back to School Shop, Inc. is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Stamford residents, Japha and Levene, who want to ensure that every child in Stamford, even those in difficult circumstances, experience the excitement of getting ready to go back to school.Since its inaugural event in 2015, Back to School Shophas outfitted over 850 Stamford children with clothing and supplies for school, mobilized over 800 volunteers to organize and run the annual events, and connected with over 430 donors who have made Back to School Shop possible each year.
Special thanks go to: Platinum Star Sponsors Ellen Clarke and Joseph Garcia, Audrey Gaelen, Meryl and Ron Japha, Jason Mager, and Westy Self Storage Stamford; and Gold Star Sponsors Stephanie and Joshua Bilenker, Charlesanna and Bill Ecker, Icy and Scott Frantz, Handcraft Manufacturing Corp., and MSI Information Services/ Cathy and Steve Zales.
This year’s Back to School Shop event will be staffed with over 250 community volunteers who will act as personal shoppers, shoe fitters, section managers, translators, administrators and many other roles to help make the 5th Anniversary event even more special for the participating children and their families!
For more information about the Back to School Shop, please visit www.backtoschoolshop.org