Lots of back-to-school items collected to help students in need

The annual Book Bag & School Supply drive has been called a great success. More than 100 book bags and an abundance of back to school supplies were collected this year.

“The outpouring kindness of the community always warms my heart,” said Jennifer Sneider, whose business J Cuts, is the main collection point. “So many people stop by to drop off donations.

"Many of my customers do not hesitate to hand me give or $10, so I can pick up what we are falling short on," Sneider said. "It is amazing how it all balances out for children in need.”

Some Shelton businesses participating were Minuteman Press, which made the collection folders, and the Shelton Community Lions Club, which collected during the concerts at the Huntington Green.

The Lions Club purchases eye glasses for children in need, coordinates pediatric eye screenings for daycare centers and runs a poster contest for 11-13 year olds.

Dental items included this year

As an added bonus this year, coordinators of the drive were contacted by Jackie Romaniuk, dental health care specialist with the Connecticut Dental Health Partnership (CTDHP), the dental plan for HUSKY Health. They provided oral kits each containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and oral health education.

“The oral health kits contain tips to keep the mouth healthy as well as the importance of maintaining a healthy mouth to maintain a person’s general health,” Romaniuk said.

“The beginning of the school year traditionally correlates with starting new routines and habits," Romaniuk said. "This seems like the perfect opportunity to spread the oral health message of the importance of daily oral hygiene and scheduling a dental exam.”

Distributed to children in the Valley

Children receiving donations from this community drive are serviced by TEAM Inc. in Derby, along with the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley, Shelton School Readiness Program and the Lower Naugatuck Valley Parent Resource Center, all in Shelton, and BHcare in Ansonia.

The oral kits were given to all students who received back-to-school donations, as well as, kindergarten students at Irving School in Derby and the Milford Department of Children & Families office.

This drive, originally started by the owners of Luther’s Garage in Shelton, which is now closed, continues on an annual basis through J Cuts.

Monkey Love collection

J Cuts will be the main collection location again for the 9th annual Monkey Love Valentine Drive kicking off Jan. 1. Although stuffed monkeys with tags will be collected before the original start.

Any individual, group, business or organization is welcome to join the drive.

Call Jennifer Sneider at 203-924-4107 with questions or for more information.