Ready, Set, School program seeks donors

Posted 6/28/09

Inter-Faith Community Services needs sponsors for its annual Ready, Set School program. Sure, summer just started but sponsors need to sign up so …

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Ready, Set, School program seeks donors


Inter-Faith Community Services needs sponsors for its annual Ready, Set School program.

Sure, summer just started but sponsors need to sign up so Inter-Faith can provide a new outfit, school supplies and a backpack all the children of needy families signed up for the program.

Last year, the program helped more than 625 children be ready to start school on opening day. Maria Pearson, Inter-Faith community relations coordinator, said requests to be part of the program are up 25 percent and, considering the tough economy, that number could grow. Unfortunately, at the same time, donations are down about 40 percent.

The program isn’t new. For 17 years, it was the Pack-to-School program. But last year, Inter-Faith had to find another name because another organization at a copyright on the Pack-to-School name.

So, while the program is basically unchanged, the name is now Ready, Set School. Additionally, Inter-Faith reaches out to needy children who may not get in on the Ready, Set, School program. Last year, for example, in addition to the 625 in the program, Inter-Faith provided backpacks and school supplies to about 475 children and then reached out to an additional 200 children with school supplies.

There is no way to underestimate the impact the program has on a child. For example, a child who was part of last year’s program wrote to Inter-Faith to thank everyone for the gifts. She noted her family struggles to provide school supplies for her and her two brothers. She said she was embarrassed to do it but she usually just borrowed supplies from her friends. She also noted she planned to use the gift card she was given to get her second real hair cut.

Inter-Faith Community Services seeks to help as many children as possible. The organization works closely with Englewood, Littleton, Sheridan and Douglas County schools to help identify families who could benefit from the program. Additional names are submitted by churches and by the families.

Pearson said she knows the state of the economy and she said any donation of money or school supplies helps meet what seems to be an ever-growing need.

For information on the program or to become a sponsor, send donations to Inter-Faith at 3370 S. Irving St., Englewood, 80110-1816 or call them at 303-789-0501.

The Ready, Set School Program is for kindergartners through eighth-graders. Each child receives that all-important new outfit, complete with underwear and socks, for the first day of school, a full complement of school supplies and a new backpack.

The backpacks are assembled at Inter-Faith headquarters in late July and early August so children can pick them up the week before school starts.

Annually, the programs get support from individuals but there are also organizations that are donors. Again this year, banks, service clubs and businesses like Bradford Auto in Littleton have stepped up to help kids get school started on the right foot.

Inter-faith provides donors a profile of each child being sponsored. The profile includes the child’s name, age, clothing sizes, favorite color and hobbies. Donors can either shop for the child or provide the money for Inter-Faith volunteers to do the shopping.

Inter-Faith Community Services is the largest non-governmental agency helping needy individuals, families and seniors in the south Metro Area including Centennial, Englewood, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Sheridan and unincorporated Arapahoe County.

The outreach is designed to help people become self-sufficient Programs include a food bank, clothing bank, rental, mortgage and utility assistance, outreach programs for seniors and, of course, the Ready, Set School program.

The organization also assembles and distributes hundreds of food boxes at Thanksgiving and enlists sponsors to provide gifts and food to needy families at Christmas.


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