Giveaway helps 500 kids get ready for school
For Brenda Cueto and hundreds of parents like her, Sunday was like Christmas in August.
Cueto, a mom of five, was among the parents of 500 schoolchildren in need who were treated to a Back 2 School Pop-Up Store shopping trip, courtesy of corporate and private sponsors, for the event organized by the National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Detroit Section.
Local youngsters who will fill local classrooms in a few weeks to begin a new school year got to shop for new school clothes, backpacks, gym shoes and other needed items Sunday in the huge gymnasium of Munger Middle School.
“I think it’s a good program,” said Cueto on Sunday. “It helps a lot of parents with low income and no income.”
Stacey Young also brought two children to the event.
Young said she ordinarily would pay about $200 to outfit her youngsters and supply them with school items like backpacks, notebooks and other items such as pencils and folders. Young said she still plans to go school shopping but Sunday’s event will allow her to shave off some money from the budget for the annual shopping trip.
“This is great,” said Young as she waited for her young sons, 4 and 5, to complete their shopping with a personal shopper.
Her 4-year-old, Cameron, clapped with glee after getting a bag of clothes and school supplies.
Three hundred volunteers took part in the school supply and clothing giveaway on the city’s southwest side.
The children were paired with the personal shoppers, who helped them pick from among brand-new winter coats with hoods, gym shoes, other clothing and school supplies. The children take home about $180 worth of items, said Sandi Maltz, president of the National Council of Jewish Women Greater Detroit Section.
Organizers prepare all year by seeking financial donations and shopping for clothes, shoes and other items.
Matz said Sunday that the event aimed for children who might otherwise have gone without.
“To see the smile on the children’s faces makes it all worthwhile,” said Matz.
Nine social service agencies helped select the children for the program, said Matz. She said corporate sponsors and other private donors give about $60,000 to $70,000 to the program to help buy the items.
The Back 2 School Pop-Up started about four years ago when a teacher at Munger, Lauren Koesnigsberg, noticed a need among the children at Munger, located on Martin near McCraw and Interstate 94.
Koesnigsberg, now a substitute teacher at the school, was there Sunday to help with the efforts.
“It’s heartwarming,” said Koesnigsberg.