City Team Ministries will be distributing more than 2,000 backpacks filled with school supplies for kids in the city of Chester. The backpack giveaway will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the basketball courts on Seventh and Penn streets in Chester. The day will include food, games, and music.
“We have been doing this giveaway for 19 years now,” said Anna Donahoe, City Team family services coordinator. “It originally started because we saw a need in this community. We decided to do a backpack giveaway because it would provide kids with the essentials that they would need for school and lessen the burden for some parents. “Since we started this event, the community has shown us love through their support and volunteering. The kids have been gracious and excited. We looking forward to putting a smile on all these kids’ faces.”
The backpacks will be distributed to registered families. Parent’s ID and proof of age are required for each child. Families who are not registered will still be able to receive a backpack at the City Team location in Chester. The backpacks will be given to students from pre-kindergarten to the 12th grade. Donations for the event came from local businesses, churches, and residents. About 100 volunteers will be helping at the event.
“Last year’s event was a little bit different due to Hurricane Irene, but this year we are extremely excited.” Donahoe said. “In addition to the backpack giveaway, we will also be having games for the kids to participate in. Some of the activities will include basketball and soccer. We just want the kids and their families to have a good time before the school year begins.”
Last month, a settlement was reached in the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia’s class action lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Education and state officials on the issue of whether the Chester-Upland School District (CUSD) will be able to stay open and provide services for students with disabilities in accordance with federal law in the 2012-2013 school year.
According to the settlement agreement, the Commonwealth will provide the CUSD with $20.5 million to eliminate existing debt and an additional $9.7 million for the 2012-2013 school year.
“They have a hard enough time during the school year,” Donahoe said. “In addition to the problems going on in the district, they also have challenges that they face every day in their life. We don’t want them going to school with a beat up backpack or without the supplies that they need. They need to know that there are people who genuinely care about them. They are our future and we need to help them prepare for it. We want to see them succeed.”