'Back to School Shop' outfits students for eighth year
It’s about that time to go back to school shopping. For hundreds of kids in Stamford, it's an annual experience they wouldn’t get to enjoy without the help of nonprofit organization, Back to School Shop.
Co-founders and Stamford residents Jane Levene and Meryl Japha started the organization in 2015. Their eighth annual event was held all day Sunday inside Davenport Ridge Elementary School. School social workers identified 400 children who they feel would greatly benefit this one-stop shop with backpacks, books, school supplies, socks, underwear, and even a winter coat and hat.
“Everything is purchased brand new. There’s nothing in here that’s used. Tags are still on,” said Levene.
Fourth-grader Kendra Lopez and her siblings were ecstatic as they walked through the gymnasium-turned-department store without their parent.
Levene said, “We ask the parents to wait and the child gets to go with a personal shopper who will help direct them to where their sizes are. They'll go try them in a fitting room.”
“I like the helpers here. They're really kind,” said Kendra. Her personal shopper, Lisa Rich, says the feeling is mutual.
“Every stop we make, from the socks right to the sneakers, to the books – it’s just a big smile on her face,” said Rich.
Volunteers say the excitement doesn't end when the shopping is over. Watching the kids walk up to their parents with their new clothes and school supplies is priceless.
“The last young lady that I brought back to her mother, they high-fived each other. So, it was really wonderful,” said Rich.
Kendra was a little shy in front of News 12’s cameras, but her mother showed great appreciation: “Amazing. I love it. It's the best thing that can happen ever.”
Back to School Shop has helped over 2,000 kids since 2015. The co-founders say the donors and 1,000 community volunteers have been extremely generous.
To learn more, visit www.backtoschoolshop.org