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Easing the Back-To-School Burden: local companies and organizations step up to make the transition a little easier for some WNY families

If you couldn’t tell by the abrupt turn in the weather, fall is coming, and that means it’s back to school season in Buffalo.

Back-to-school time was always exciting for me. As a native Buffalonian, I thrive in the cooler weather. Fall and winter are my active seasons. Every summer, a letter from school would arrive with a long list of essentials. After a short and stressful trip to the mall, I would spend hours organizing my new clothes, notebooks, colored pens, etc. I remember the joy of running my hands over the crisp, unmarred composite note books. Spending a few minutes flipping the blank pages back and forth knowing that in a few short months they would be marked and filled with pages of ink. I was confident, prepared, and excited about the new relationships and adventures that were just around the corner.

For many kids, back to school is a time of worry and trepidation. But, thankfully, the City of Good Neighbors does not disappoint when it comes to individuals, organizations, and companies of every size stepping up to make the transition a little easier.

According to the Food Bank of WNY, 1 in 5 children is food insecure. In any given month, the Food Bank assists as many as 139,780 individuals, including more than 45,340 households, 54,445 children and infants and 18,370 seniors. September is Hunger Action Month – Food Banks across the country dedicate this month to spreading awareness on the problem of hunger and committing to be a part of the solution. Of the 140,000 individuals that rely on the Food Bank, Tara A. Ellis, President & CEO, says “that’s nearly enough people to fill the football stadium at New Era Field twice… It can be easy to think of the problem of hunger as insurmountable. Yet that should never be an excuse for inaction. If we continue to come together to help our neighbors in need, we can make real, meaningful progress in creating food secure communities.”

Another local organization that aims to take the back-to-school burden off of students and teachers is The Teacher’s Desk. Last year they distributed more than 6 million dollars worth of free school supplies. The store opened in 2011 in the City of Buffalo. More than 6000 teachers shop annually for free supplies for their classrooms and for over 130,000 individual students.

Also this year, Buffalo’s own New Era donated 50,000 pieces to children in need through local organizations across WNY. With the help of Seiko, who provided free shipping for the pallets of caps, New Era delivered nearly $500,000 in product to local organizations including, Cradle Beach Camp, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, ECMC Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo and East Aurora, Rural Outreach Center, Camp Good Days, Kaleida Health and the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.

“New Era has always taken tremendous pride in giving back to our hometown and we truly value these opportunities to positively impact the Western New York community,” said Josh Feine, Vice President of Sports Marketing and Corporate Partnerships at New Era Cap. “We’re proud to be able to donate caps and knits to these incredible organizations that do so much for the kids and families throughout our region.”

On this cold Monday, it warms the heart to know that many organizations and individuals in Western New York are always looking for ways to help our kids have a successful and focused school year.

Lead image, Food Bank of WNY

Written by Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli is a WNY native, born and raised in the Lincoln Park area of Tonawanda. She has been involved in local politics from an early age and is currently a Tonawanda Democratic Committee Member. As an avid equestrian and animal-lover, she trained and re-homed over 40 horses. For over a decade, she was an event planner with the law firm, Hodgson Russ LLP, and now owns her own marketing and event management company. She has worked with international and national organizations on large and small scale events. Jessica writes on politics and local events, as well as working with Buffalo Rising as a social reporter.

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