A group of charities, all invested in making lives better for children in foster care, are collaborating to provide backpacks filled with school supplies to 4,000 children in foster care.
The groups hope to give the children the tools necessary to be successful as the new school year begins.
This program is an expansion of previous drives held by Arizona Friends of Foster Children. In 2015, AFFCF gave out 1,200 backpacks to children in foster care.
This year they’ve been joined by Voices for CASA Children, AASK and Arizona Helping Hands, all Qualifying Foster Care Charitable Organizations, in a unified effort to reach 4,000 kids.
Assistance League of Phoenix has also jumped in with its Operation School Bell Program to provide 200 children with uniform clothing to start the school year.
Dan Shufelt, president & CEO of AHH said “individually, each of these groups has done Back to School drives in prior years. We all believe in the importance of supporting the 19,000 kids in Arizona’s foster care system.
“It only makes sense that we work together to expand the reach and impact of this project. Together we can be more efficient, maximize our buying power and eliminate any duplication of efforts.”
Through July 29, boxes will be available in a variety of offices throughout the Valley to collect needed supplies.
Additionally, a website — www.ahhbacktoschool.org — has been set up where donors can purchase fully stocked backpacks for as little as $10.50.
Distribution of the backpacks will be from the AHH warehouse in the Scottsdale Airpark at the end of July. Collection events will also be held on select weekends in July at the Scottsdale Promenade and Sam’s Club in North Scottsdale.
Families with a Notice to Provider from the Arizona Department of Child Safety are eligible to apply for assistance at www.azhelpinghands.org.
“Boys and girls in foster care have so many other concerns they must deal with each and every day,” says Mr. Shufelt.
“All of them have been through traumatic home life disruptions, and too many face the uncertainty of what the future will hold. We know how important it is to start a school year supplied with a brand new backpack and a few supplies.”
For more information visit www.azhelpinghands.org or call 480-889-0604.
The Scottsdale Independent is available for free every Wednesday.