JFCS of the Suncoast seeking donations for its Backpack Drive by July 29

Goal is to ensure that homeless and low-income children can begin first day of school ‘with dignity’

With the new school year quickly approaching, many families find the required classroom supply lists can be overwhelming, the staff of the JFCS of the Suncoast points out in a news release.

That is why the nonprofit’s annual Backpack Drive is of critical importance, the release adds.

“As one of the area’s leading mental health and human services agencies,” JFCS once again has partnered with Hope 4 Communities to help prepare children in need for their next school year, the release continues. Together, the two organizations provide backpacks, school supplies, haircuts, family photos, vision screenings, school physicals, gift cards for school clothing and shoes, snacks for school, and more, the release says.

Events are hosted at churches throughout the community, to give homeless and low-income children “everything they need to begin the first day of school with dignity,” the release points out.

JFCS has provided funding and 500 books from its “Take-a-Look, Buy-a-Book” book donation drive to be given to children during the events, the release notes. “JFCS is seeking additional school supply donations so volunteers can fill backpacks to distribute to those families who missed the deadline to attend Hope 4 Communities’ Days4Hope events,” the release adds.

Donations can be dropped off or delivered to the main office, which is located at 2688 Fruitville Road in Sarasota (34237). The deadline to donate items is July 29.

Gift cards to Walmart, Target, Michael’s Stores, and Amazon “are especially helpful,” the release points out. Below is the list of needed supplies, the release says:

  • 1-inch white, clear-cover, 3-ring binders.
  • 5-subject notebooks.
  • Band-Aids.
  • Composition notebooks.
  • Crayons/colored pencils.
  • Dry erase markers and erasers.
  • Expo markers (thick black).
  • Folders (3-prong; sturdy plastic).
  • Fun erasers and pink erasers.
  • Glue bottles/sticks.
  • Hand sanitizer/wipes.
  • Notebook paper (wide-ruled).
  • USB headphones for computers.
  • Rulers.
  • Scissors.
  • Spiral, wide-ruled notebooks.
  • Ticonderoga pencils.
  • Tissues.
  • Ziploc bags (sandwich and gallon)

For more information, visit https://jfcs-cares.org/backpack-drive/. To donate items or gift cards, email Karen Pharo, JFCS director of marketing and community outreach, at kpharo@jfcs-cares.org.