Philadelphia -- More than 400 corporate volunteers stuffed 24,000 backpacks with school supplies for children from low-income and homeless backgrounds during the 2015 Backpack-A-Thon(TM). Through Backpack-A-Thon – a partnership between Cradles to Crayons and United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) – children throughout the Greater Philadelphia region will be able to start the school year off right with the necessary tools for success.
"The more that we can do to help children be prepared for school, the more successful our region will ultimately be," Michal Smith, executive director of Cradles to Crayons, said. "We're proud that our annual Backpack-A-Thon with United Way is the largest back-to-school event in the region."
The 24,000 backpacks stuffed with school supplies – ranging from pens and pencils to three-ring binders and spiral notebooks – were donated to social service agencies throughout the region for distribution to children in need. The 2015 Backpack-A-Thon was made possible by Citizens Bank with support from Aberdeen Asset Management, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, FMC, Independence Blue Cross and the Philadelphia Eagles.
According to a recent report by the National Center for Education Statistics, this is the first time in 50 years that the majority of U.S. public school students come from low-income families. Additionally, last year, the average family spent approximately $669 in back-to-school supplies.
"For parents from economically-challenged backgrounds, it can be difficult to make room in family budgets for the most basic of school supplies. Regardless of income, all children deserve the chance to enter the classroom with the tools they need to succeed," Jim Cawley, president and CEO of UWGPSNJ, said. "Thanks to our partnership with Cradles to Crayons and the support of our generous sponsors, we can help thousands of children in our region start the school year off right."
Additional sponsors of the 2015 Backpack-A-Thon include: ACE Group, American Airlines, AmerisourceBergen, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, Reed Technology, UPS Chesapeake District, Wegmans, Animas Corporation, Aqua America, Bank of America, Beneficial Bank, Chartwell Investment Partners, Cigna, Citrin Cooperman, CliftonLarsonAllen, David's Bridal, DLL, The Dow Chemical Company, First Niagara Bank, Franklin Square Capital Partners, Gilbane, GPX Realty, Kicks USA, Santander, Target, TargetX, and Westinghouse.