WESTPORT, Conn. For Westport families with limited incomes, back-to-school shopping can be daunting. But the Westport Department of Human Services helps ensure that children from income-eligible families get the supplies they need for the upcoming school year.
During the annual Back to School program, sponsored by the department, children from elementary through high school can "shop" for all their supplies and even clothes at Toquet Hall Teen Center. This year's program, headed by Toquet Hall Director Kevin Godburn, ran from Aug. 2 to Aug. 8.
"I think we've had about 30 kids come by each day," Godburn said Friday. "Usually, the kids came with their parents, but some parents came by themselves and picked out supplies for their kids. A few high school students came by themselves."
The program, according to Human Services Director Barbara Butler, is made possible by the support of individuals and businesses through donations of money and items. Last year, Butler said 220 children from 120 income-eligible families benefitted.
Grouped by school level, supplies included notebooks, binders, pencils, markers, crayons and calculators as well as book covers, rulers, shaped rubber band bracelets and even SAT prep books. All students received a new backpack and prepacked pencil pouches, Godburn said.
Beyond supplies, clothes were also available. Individuals and stores such as Winged Monkey and Lollipop guild donated the clothes. Families also received Payless Shoe Source gift cards.
"It's great to see the community raise a program like this," Godburn said. "And it's a lot of fun to see the kids come in and pick out their supplies they're excited to go back to school."
This program is one of many the Department of Human Services offers to provide support for children and families in Westport. During the holidays, for example, the department offers a Thanksgiving basket program and a gift-giving program. For more information about programs or how to help support the department, call 203-341-1050.
What do you think about the Back to School Program and the work the Westport Department of Human Services does? Please leave a comment below!
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