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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 an author, speaker, coach, marketer, and business development strategist. Her professional consulting company, MEMC handles all aspects of marketing and business development planning and implementation, assisting with strategic planning initiatives and the creation of marketing action plans, as well as planning and executing private and public events, including: the coaching of individuals, multi-day conferences, as well as other development initiatives. In addition to her work with MEMC, Jessica oversees the day-to-day operations and strategic marketing efforts at Local Matters, Inc. the parent company of Buffalo Rising.

She is active in her community and serves on several non-profit boards, such as WNY Heritage Magazine, O'Connell & Company Productions, and the Women's Business Center (WBC) Advisory Board. She is also a Democratic Committee Member in the Town of Tonawanda. Most recently, She has been asked to serve as the Marketing Consultant for the WBC's COVID Recovery Task Force.

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