Fill a Backpack, Help a Child

As advertisers are reminding us, it’s time to go shopping for back-to-school supplies. Yet, for many people across the country, financial constraints make such shopping sprees impossible.

On Wednesday, at the lower campus of the Ross School, in Bridgehampton, the UJA-Federation of New York’s Supplies for Success program will hold its 16th consecutive backpack assembly, during which volunteers will pack thousands of backpacks with donated school supplies to be delivered to local children in need of a hand to start school on a positive note.

“No parent should have to choose between food on the table or notebooks and pencils,” said Mindy Richenstein, a Sagaponack resident and the program’s founder and chairwoman. “It’s so important that kids walk into school with their heads held high, with all the tools they need to feel confident and hopeful rather than anxious and ashamed,” she said.

The UJA-Federation is an international Jewish service organization established more than 90 years ago. The Supplies for Success program is in its fifth year on the East End. Last year, more than 11,000 backpacks were filled in eight locations, including four on Long Island.

At last year’s Ross School event, volunteers filled 2,000 backpacks with age-appropriate supplies, including binders, folders, pencils, pens, markers, crayons, rulers, sharpeners, notebooks, and loose-leaf papers. “Everything a student needs to get the school year started,” Ms. Richenstein said.  The stuffed backpacks were given to children in Springs, East Hampton, Riverhead, Hampton Bays, and Southampton, as well as to the Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services last year. They were also distributed to the Retreat, the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center, and other nonprofit organizations.

Wednesday’s backpack-filling event will be held at the Ross Lower School field house, 739 Butter Lane, Bridgehampton, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The event is open to children and adults of all ages and donations of $18 per backpack have been suggested.