By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – On Saturday, August 15th, the City of Delray Beach is organizing a ‘Back-to-School Giveaway’ to donate 1,000 bags to young students in need at Catherine Strong Park, 1500 SW 6th Street, by drive-thru starting at 9AM.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of the usual events to help families prepare for the school year have been canceled, but this is an opportunity for the community to come together and support young students.
It was on July 15th that the Palm Beach County School Board agreed to a proposed “distance learning” plan for the 2020-2021 school year, and a week later announced the start of classes would be delayed three weeks and begin for students on Monday, August 31st, in county district-operated schools.
The lack of on-campus education will disproportionally challenge lower-income families to provide home-study environments, and a big part of that is school supplies. This is one of the reasons the Back-to-School Giveaway is so important, and the City is asking for donations to help make sure every child can be prepared.
Gina Carter, Public Information Officer for the City of Delray Beach shared, “The assistance of our community is vital to the success of any program or giveaway. The more we are able to take in, the more people we can help. It also shows those that need an extra hand that the entire community cares about them and wants to see them succeed. ”
Carter explained that the City has been giving back to the community in partnership, with the assistance of residents and local businesses, for many years. “We have taken a proactive role to assist those that need a little extra help,” she said.
Over the past five years, all Delray Beach Departments (Police, Fire, Parks and Recreation, Community Improvement, Public Works, etc.), residents and local businesses have hosted “National Night Out” to bring the community together for a night of fun and education.
Carter said, “At this event, nearly 700 backpacks stuffed with school supplies are given to the children in our community and beyond. This is one of many events that the city hosts or supports that aids in helping children get prepared for going back to school.” Admitting, “With the onset of COVID-19, many of these events have been canceled.”
With a goal of preparing 1,000 bags for the children, the City is asking residents to donate in groups of 500 or 1,000 to the Teen Center by Tuesday, August 11th. School supply donation suggestions are; USBs, pens, pencils, crayons, colored pencils, 1-subject notebooks, pencil sharpeners, glue sticks and rulers.
On many occasions over the years, due to the generosity of our residents and business community, the City had collected more supplies than were able to giveaway at an event. However, no donation went to waste.
“All extra supplies were given to either local schools, aftercare programs or other local organizations that assist with educating our youth,” Carter said.
However for this year she acknowledged, “because of COVID-19 and difficult economic times, many of these same people and businesses are struggling to makes ends meet. Therefore, it’s going to be difficult to meet the demand and need this year.”
Those interested in donating can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.