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"http://www.stamfordplus.com/stm/information/nws1/publish/News_1/index.shtml - News</head> : Education Jul 25, 2016 - 8:41:56 AM

Back to School Shop-- Second Annual Event Community Event Serves Stamford’s Neediest Children

By Back To School Shop

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Stamford, CT - The Back To School Shop, a community event organized to provide new school clothes and supplies to economically disadvantaged elementary school children, will have its 2nd annual event on Sunday, July 31, 2016 at Davenport Ridge Elementary School in Stamford. Over 200 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. This represents nearly a 70% increase in children served vs. the inaugural event last year. Over 50% of Stamford students are considered economically disadvantaged and many return to school each year without basic clothing and school supplies. The mission of the Back to School Shop is to help build the confidence and enthusiasm these children need to have a successful start to the school year, by providing new school clothes and supplies.

The Back to School Shop is a one-day event that runs from 10:00am until 3:00pm 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 an entire new outfit including a shirt, 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, personal care items and books. All of the items chosen by the children are provided at no charge.

While the children are shopping, their parents and caregivers can visit the on-site Japha Family Resource Center where they can pick up information about community resources and meet with representatives of over a dozen participating community organizations, including the Child Guidance Center of Southern CT, Domus Kids, Stamford Department of Health and Human Services, Hanna & Mazer Dental Group, Ferguson Library, Connecticut Legal Services, and The Stamford Fire Department.

The Back to School Shop is an all-volunteer organization that was founded by two Stamford women, Meryl Japha and Jane Levene, who wanted to ensure that every child in Stamford experienced the excitement of getting ready to go back to school. They recruited a steering committee, which runs the program, and secured the support of United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien, as well as the Stamford Public School System to provide administrative and logistical support. Volunteers purchase all of the clothing, backpacks and school supplies locally with funds raised from individuals, foundations and other organizations. Special thanks go to Platinum Star Sponsors Audrey and Norbert Gaelen, Meryl and Ron Japha, Al’s Angels, and Gold Star Sponsors Fairfield County's Community Foundation, Nan and Paul Gordon, The Kuriansky Foundation, and O.Berk Company.
The Back to School Shop event will be staffed with over 150 community volunteers who will act as personal shoppers, shoe fitters, section managers, translators, administrators and many other roles to help make the experience a magical day for the children.

For more information about the Back to School Shop, please visit its webpage. www.ujf.org/backtoschoolshop

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