Here’s how to help at-risk kids prepare for new school year

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Backpacks. Shoes. School supplies. Uniforms. Prepping one student for school could add up to $687.

Schools opens Aug. 12, but not all parents can afford new everything. So Boca’s Spirit of Giving equips 4,000 south county kids for the new school year.

The 11th annual Back to School Bash is coming up, so Spirit’s Sue Diener released this wish list. Deadline is July 25.

Personal hand sanitizer

Tissues

Reams of ruled paper

Reams of copier paper

Mechanical pencils

#2 Pencils

Colored pens, blue, black, red

Highlighters

Uniform shirts

Binders

White board markers

Calculators

Feminine personal hygiene products

This link sends items right to Spirit via Amazon

Last year’s 10th annual Spirit of Giving Back to School Bash helped more than 4,000 kids prepare for a new school year.

Spirit also accepts drop offs at their office during business hours; call first, 561-385-0144. They’re in the Junior League of Boca Raton Headquarters, 261 NW 13th St., just off Glades Road.

Donations can be made through their website.

“This year, we will have a “girls only” room where young ladies will get fitted for bras and receive special feminine hygiene products,” Diener said. “We also have Bombas socks.”

The kids are paired with a volunteer and shop for their own supplies and shoes. In Jacob’s Shoes provides new footwear.

The event also includes a health fair by Boca Raton Regional Hospital with dental, vision, hearing and other screenings. Parents can do that, too, while the kids shop, Diener said.

Home Depot and Habitat for Humanity have a craft table. There’s a boxed lunch and healthy snacks.

Volunteers from Boca Beauty Academy do most of the haircuts and beading.

“It’s all about the experience,” Diener said.

Here’s statistics from last year’s Back to School Bash:

·    4,125 students registered, 3,376 attended

·    1,250 pairs of shoes distributed

·    2,700 meals served

·    1,500 reading books distributed

·     150 school physicals

The students are referred by agencies that serve children, Diener said. “It’s based on need and the agencies qualify the kids.”

By Marci Shatzman