It’s common to hear the chorus of Back-to-School cheer from children around this time of year. But some Bucks County kids are a little less excited than their peers about returning to the classroom this fall, because their families do not have the resources to provide the appropriate school supplies in preparation for the new school year.
New clothes, calculators, binders, backpacks: the costs of going back to school add up quickly, and not every family is able to keep up. In 2012, the average cost for getting a child ready for school was $200. In fact, there are many families right here in Bucks County having a difficult time managing back-to-school expenses.
That’s why the Opportunity Council is holding a Back-to-School Gift Card Drive now through August 16, 2013. Donations of gift cards to popular retailers such as Wal-Mart, Staples, Ross, Old Navy, JC Penney and Great Clips will benefit local families. Each family draws up their Back-to-School budget with an Opportunity Council Self-Sufficiency Coach, based on the family’s contribution combined with the donated gift cards.
“Our annual Back-to-School gift card drive is really important because the supplies we are able to provide through it help to instill confidence and enthusiasm in the kids, which is crucial to their success in school,” explained Eileen Albillar, Volunteer and Community Connections Manager for the Opportunity Council.
The Economic Self-Sufficiency Program has helped more than two hundred and forty-four Bucks County families since 1997 leave poverty permanently and achieve independence from government welfare. The program’s participants meet with a Self-Sufficiency Coach from the Opportunity Council to develop a personalized plan to achieve gainful employment by seeking the appropriate education and skills.
Imagine the confidence and excitement that will be instilled in the kids after they are outfitted with their new school supplies, clean clothes and a fresh haircut. That should reduce some of the “Back-to-School Blues” and get our local kids ready for the upcoming school year!
To participate in the drive, please drop off or mail your gift cards to the Bucks County Opportunity Council on or before August 16, 2013:
Bucks County Opportunity Council
100 Doyle Street
Doylestown, PA 18901
You may also donate online here!
The Opportunity Council thanks everyone in advance for contributing! You can find a full list of preferred retailers for gift cards this year on our website.
BCOC extends a special thanks to our corporate and community participants in this year’s drive: Toll Brothers; Bucks County Bar Association; Merck; National Penn Bank; Rotary Club of Doylestown; Quakertown National Bank; Univest Bank; Office Depot, and Mom’s Club of Buckingham North!
The Opportunity Council’s mission is to help low-income families in Bucks County achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency. We believe equipping people with the education, training, resources and skills to permanently leave poverty is far more beneficial than helping them cope in poverty. Our nationally recognized Economic Self-Sufficiency Program has helped 244 people permanently leave poverty and saves the community $4 in welfare assistance for every $1 invested. Learn more at www.bcoc.org.
About the Contributor
Randy Levine recently relocated to Bucks County from Maryland to seek an opening in public relations or marketing. Previously, he provided strategic communications support to a leading provider of pest management services in the DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia area. Mr. Levine is presently a volunteer with the Bucks County Opportunity Council. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication from Towson University. Randy is also a member of the New Hope Historical Society.