Back-to-school drive to help children in need

Book bags and back-to-school supplies are being collected in downtown Shelton for children in the Valley area who are in need.

During the annual Back to School Book Bag and School Supply Drive, Jennifer Sneider, owner of J Cuts at 505 Howe Avenue in Shelton, will be collecting supplies, including book bags, book covers, rulers, pens, pencils, erasers, notebooks, binders, glue, crayons, calculators, pencil sharpeners, paper and folders through Aug. 26. All items must be brand new.

A second collection location is Minuteman Press located at 427B Howard Avenue, Shelton. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9 to 6 p.m. Their phone number is 203-922-9228.

Last year's drive collected 1,570 items, which was about $3,718 worth of book bags and supplies; 110 children were assisted. At the time, these children were being serviced by TEAM, the Department of Family & Children's Aid/Shelton Safe Home, the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley and the Covenant to Care for Children Adopt a Social Worker Program. These programs will be helped again this year, including children at the Spooner House.

"Donors providing new bags and supplies help these challenged children build their confidence and self-esteem as they return to school," said Meral Prewitt, regional coordinator and team leader of the Adopt A Social Worker Program. "Otherwise, these children feel disadvantaged and different from other children. Sporting a new book bag like the other kids on the first day of school, it allows them to walk in with pride and start out feeling more positive about attending school. This year, we hope to double our numbers. Children sometimes don't want to go back to school because they don't have what other children have. This drive is very important and critical because it helps to boost their confidence."

The majority of the children who receive supplies are in multi-problem families, and struggling with difficulties including, poverty, domestic violence, developmental disabilities, abuse, neglect and potential homelessness.

All donations from this drive will be distributed to children who are getting ready to go back to school. Donations will be accepted from individuals, as well as groups. Area corporations and organizations are encouraged to hold their own collections to join in. For more information, call J Cuts at 203-924-4107.