County Executive George Latimer filling a backpack with school supplies at The Sharing Shelf's Backpacks to School kick-off event

County Executive George Latimer and Department of Social Services Commissioner Leonard Townes joined The Sharing Shelf's Executive Director Deborah Blatt and a team of volunteers on Wednesday morning to stuff nearly 200 backpacks full of new school supplies for elementary school children in need in Westchester County.

The event, held at The Sharing Shelf's warehouse in Port Chester, was the kick-off of The Sharing Shelf's annual Backpacks to School drive, which seeks to provide as many as 1,500 new backpacks and school supplies to Westchester’s most economically vulnerable children and teens so they have the tools they need to learn and thrive in school this fall.

County Executive Latimer said: "Something as simple as a new backpack with pencils, paper and notebooks, can make an enormous difference to a student's academic success and their self-esteem. Unfortunately, these things can be financially out of reach for some families. The work that Deborah Blatt and her volunteers at the Sharing Shelf do, and their close cooperation with the staff at the Department of Social Services, are a wonderful example of how government, community-minded groups and individuals can work together to give children in need a leg up."
Commissioner Townes said: "Back to school is an exciting time for children, but it can also be a financially stressful one for many families. The Sharing Shelf is truly an outstanding partner in helping us assist families in preparing their children for success in school, regardless of their economic challenges."

The Sharing Shelf's Executive Director Deborah Blatt said, "With inflation impacting the cost of school supplies, the number of requests we've gotten for backpacks already is double the number we received at the same time last year. I'm so thankful to The Sharing Shelf's Board, volunteers and all our financial donors. With their helping hands and support, we can continue to ensure children and teens can start the school year with all the basics they need. And I'm grateful for the strong working relationship we have with the County."