Volunteers were hard at work putting together the last of the 850 backpacks that will be given out to area children as they return to school in two weeks. The brightly colored backpacks have been stuffed with everything children need in order to go back to school, said Barbara LaGrenade, the volunteer coordinator at the Marlborough Community Cupboard.
"It prepares the children with the essential supplies to start their school year," she said of the project organized by the United Way of Tri-County.
With names of students from area non-profits and guidance for grade needs from the schools, backpacks will be distributed throughout MetroWest and the Route 495 corridor. The program has been going on for 15 years, and continues to grow, said LaGrenade. Last year there were 800 backpacks given out.
"It's everything they need," said LaGrenade.
Local radio personality John Dennis of WEEI was on hand to help with the backpacks. In the current economy, these kinds of programs help children get their school supplies, he said.
"There are a lot of people who are hurting and there are a lot of people who are struggling and the United Way Regonizes that with over 800 backpacks. It is one of the essential things you need to go back to school so they are doing a great thing," said Dennis.
The program lines up with the United Ways ongoing committment to helping children and youth succeed. It thrives through donations from area companies and community agencies with 19 and 21 participating last year, respectively. Without these partnerships, the program would not be nearly as successful, said LaGrenade.
"The city of Marlborough has given us great support in taking care of their local children," she said.
For more information and to help with the drive, LaGrenade can be reached at 508-370-4873 or at barbara.LaGrenade@uwotc.org.