ENFIELD-On August 26th, the Summer Lunch Bunch held its annual Backpack for Kids Day event. Over 573 backpacks with school supplies went home with families to help kids get ready for the first day of school.
Since the beginning of August, Summer Lunch Bunch, a free USDA sponsored lunch program for children and their parents, has been collecting backpacks and school supplies from individuals, businesses, and faith-based organizations in the community. Summer Lunch Bunch, located at St. Patrick’s Parish Hall, provided 2,660 free lunches for Enfield children and over 400 lunches for parents throughout nine weeks of summer.
Roger LeBlanc, ERfC (Educational Resources for Children, Inc.) Volunteer Project Coordinator for Summer Lunch Bunch, said “Parents and kids were very excited for the opportunity to choose a backpack from the large pool of donations.”
“The annual backpack event helps Enfield families who are struggling with the cost of getting their kids ready for school. “Many parents are working multiple jobs and shifts in order to keep food on the table. These donations are a tremendous help and let families know that the community provides incredible support for their children,” he added.
In addition to backpacks and school supplies more than 180 pairs of jeans for boys and girls in various sizes were donated for the event by Plato’s Closet in Enfield. Plato’s Closet provides merchandise and accessories that appeal to teens and twenty somethings in their Hazard Avenue retail store. “All the jeans disappeared,” said LeBlanc.
Summer Lunch Bunch has been spearheading the Backpack & Supply Drive for the past three years, working in collaboration with Enfield Social Services and many other local social service providers. LeBlanc contributes the success of Summer Lunch Bunch and the Backpack for Kids Day to the staff and many adult and youth volunteers that came everyday to serve lunches and lead various educational activities.
ERfC Executive Director, Claire Hall, said, “We know first-hand how important this annual event is for families and we are proud for the opportunity to work alongside a multitude of very generous individuals who support this program.”
ERfC, in addition to Summer Lunch Bunch, provides before-and after School-Age Centers serving six elementary schools and JFK Middle School. “We’re local and involved in the many lives we serve in all our out-of-school time programs,” said Hall.
At the Backpack Event, many Enfield service providers were available to speak with families about services available in the community. Providers included representatives from Connecticut Dental Health Partnership, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Enfield Food Shelf, Enfield Social Services, the Family Resource Center, CHR's "Strengthening Families," and The Network.
For more information about ERfC and Summer Lunch Bunch visit the website at www.erfc.us or call the administrative office at 50 Post Office Road at 860-253-9935.