Share & Connect
Philadelphia, U.S.A. – As most people turn their thoughts to summer vacation, United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey and Cradles to Crayons are joining together to provide school supplies for the upcoming school year to low-income and homeless families throughout the region. The two organizations are partnering on the 2012 Backpack-A-Thon, to fill and distribute 20,000 backpacks. The backpacks will be distributed through more than 350 social service agencies that in turn will give the backpacks to children in need, giving them resources needed to have a successful start to the school year. United Way and Cradles to Crayons will bring together more than 400 community and corporate volunteers this summer to prepare the backpacks at an event hosted by the Philadelphia Eagles.
The largest one-day back-to-school event in the region, the 2012 Backpack-A-Thon seeks to help kids start the school year off right. As the poorest of the nation’s ten largest cities, Philadelphia’s child poverty rate is the highest it’s been in 50 years. As a result, parents from economically-challenged backgrounds often find it difficult to provide their children with the most basic of needs, including school supplies. Statistics show that children from low-income communities start first grade up to two years behind their peers from moderate- to upper-income households. Allowing those children to have the tools they need to start off right – from quality early childhood education to school supplies – are just a few of the way that United Way’s Community Impact fund is put to work for our children.
United Way and Cradles to Crayons came together for the first time in 2011. Jill Michal, president and CEO of United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, said the partnership allows the two organizations to have a greater impact than if they did this alone.
“We’re thrilled to be able to partner with such a great organization in Cradles to Crayons – we both know that we can accomplish much more together than we can alone,” Michal said.”We know that if a child can go to school on the first day equipped with the basic tools he or she needs to learn, that child is one step closer to having a positive and productive academic experience. And kids really want what we all want – to fit in and feel secure. Starting off the school year with new pencils and notebooks like every other child is one more way to help them at least start on a level playing field.”
Michal Smith, executive director of Cradles to Crayons, agreed, adding that the collaboration will ultimately benefit children and their families.
“For years, we’ve done this work with great results, but by partnering with United Way, we’re able to reach more children with the supplies they need and through our Ready For School program, keep them filled throughout the school year.”