2017-08-12 / Front Page

United Way providing Tools4Schools

Associate Editor

SACO, BIDDEFORD, YORK — The new school year is just a few weeks away, and ads for school supplies abound. For parents, this can be an expensive time of year as growing children often need new school clothes and school supplies.

The United Way of York County, along with some partners, is providing a helping a hand through  Tools4Schools. Through this program, students in most of York County who are eligible for free or reduced lunch can receive a free backpack stuffed with school supplies that will help them start the school year right.

One thousand backpacks, stuffed with supplies like pens and pencils, markers and crayons, notebooks and binders, and more are available.

“Each student is handed a backpack with grade appropriate supplies,” UWYC spokesman Jason Ketterick said.

Parents who would like to apply to the program for their children entering Kindergarten through Grade 12 should visit the UWYC website, buildcommunity.org, and click on the Tools4Schools image. Applications are due Aug. 18. Pick up locations are in Saco, Biddeford and York.

This is the fifth or sixth year UWYC has conducted the programs, Ketterick said.

“Every year the United Way of York County works with partners to collect school supplies,” he said. The collection process for each new school year begins when the previous school year ends in June. Donations to the program are being accepted through the end of the month.

The program is available to students throughout York County, except those in Sanford, Springvale and Acton. Those students are eligible for that area’s Stuff the Bus program. Applications for that program are due Aug. 15 and must be made online at stuffthebus.me.

The Tools4Schools program has grown over the years, Ketterick said, from 600 in 2014, to 800 in 2016 and the estimated goal of 1,000 this year.

He said the program works with a number of partners, such as LL Bean, which provides some of the backpacks, Tom’s of Maine, local churches which provide pick-up locations, and Ruth’s Reusable Resources in Portland, which is responsible for the actual backpack stuffing.

When applying, parents will be asked to specify which location they would like to pick up the backpacks. Distribution locations include: Seacoast Chapel, 228 Buxton Road, Saco, Aug. 29; Second Congregational Church, 19 Crescent St., Biddeford, Aug. 30; and Union Congregational Church, 18 Church St., York Beach, Aug. 31. Parents, with or without their children, can pick up backpacks from noon to 4 p.m. at the location they specify.

To apply or donate to Tools4Schools, visit the website buildcommunity.org. For more information, contact Jason Ketterick at 985-3359.

—Associate Editor Dina Mendros can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 324, or dmendros@journaltribune.

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