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Bellingham Bulletin

Helping Kids Make the Grade—YMCA Initiates Successful Back-to-School Backpack Drive

Sep 27, 2018 07:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson

Bellingham Public School Superintendent Peter Marano with Hockomock Area YMCA Association Director of Child Care Services Kim Jennings

The Hockomock Area YMCA's Operation Backpack ran successfully for a 3rd year. A dedicated association of staff, volunteers, donors, partners and community members, the Hockomock Area "Y" commits itself to building healthy, confident, connected and secure children, adults, families, and communities. Convening donors and volunteers to improve the back-to-school season for local families reflects what the Hockomock Y stands for.
 
The backpack drive took place June 25th-July 31st to collect new backpacks filled with school supplies for children in 7 school districts. The YMCA facilities in Foxboro, Franklin, and North Attleboro, as well as Bellingham Library, Bellingham Municipal Center, Franklin Municipal Building, Horace Mann Middle School, New England Chapel, and Oak Street Elementary School locations served as collection sites for people to drop off backpacks and supplies.

The YMCA initiative was sponsored by Dell, Discount School Supply, Siemens, Stop & Shop Worldwide, and WB Mason. Drop off location partners, understanding that many of the kids in our communities will start the school year without the supplies that they need to succeed, stepped up to the plate with additional donations including boxes of pens and pencils, scissors, glue sticks, rulers, and monetary donations. Volunteers gathered the supplies and used them to fill over 600 backpacks.
 
"What a feeling it is to know that our collective efforts helped 610 kids go back to school prepared," said Brandi Jacobs—senior membership experience director at the Bernon Family YMCA Branch in Franklin.
 
"Thank you to our sponsors. It is only with your generosity that we are able to make this such a successful event," said Jacobs. She noted that Y members and anonymous donors contributed by purchasing supplies on an Amazon Wish List and by submitting requests for children who could benefit from receiving a backpack for their children.
 
This past summer  the Milford Area Humanitarian Coalition presented the Milford Summer Food Service Program, sponsored by the Hockomock Area YMCA in collaboration with the Milford Public Schools Food Services team. All 272 participants who received free lunch signed up in advance to receive a backpack for their children.
 
Learning about the impact of the initiative, a community member who wished to remain anonymous stated: "On behalf of our family, we would like to take a moment to thank the YMCA staff and everyone that was a part of raising funds. So that every child that was in need for this coming school year, was provided with a backpack filled with school supplies. We are very grateful and thankful to everyone that was a part of this blessing. May the Lord continue to bless you always, as you have blessed others from the heart."

About Hockomock Area YMCA:
Where Cause Meets Community.  At the Hockomock Area YMCA, strengthening community is our cause. The Hockomock Area YMCA is an organization of men, women, and children sharing a commitment to nurture the potential of kids, promote healthy living, and foster a sense of social responsibility.
 
Our YMCA is committed to partnering and collaborating with others to create and deliver lasting personal and social change in the 15 communities we are privileged to serve. The Hockomock Area YMCA is a not-for-profit charitable cause-driven organization with facilities in North Attleboro, Foxboro, Franklin, and Mansfield. For more information, visit hockymca.org.
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