Backpacks provided to 2,600 homeless students in western Massachusetts

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The United Way of Pioneer Valley helped provide thousands of backpacks filled with school supplies for homeless students across western Massachusetts Wednesday morning.

More than 2,600 homeless students will now have backpacks either in school or remotely.

Annually, the United Way would fill a bus with backpacks and school supplies and drop them off to different school districts. This year due to COVID-19 all backpacks were picked up curb side.

One of the coordinators told 22News they were thankful to still be able to fill the most backpacks they ever have with fewer volunteers.

“We would usually have up to 20 volunteers in this room, every year just sorting supplies and stuffing the backpacks,” said Paulina Wysocka. “This year was a little different, again because of COVID so we only had about four to five members of our staff.”

The bags were filed with supplies for more than 2,600 students in elementary through high school, the most backpacks they ever filled.

With many school districts balancing remote and in-person learning, United Way made sure to include supplies that could be used anywhere at any time.

“You want these numbers to be lower because that means there are more homeless children which is sad. This is the least we can do, at least we can provide these families with backpacks so it’s one less thing to worry about,” Wysocka continued.

The backpacks and supplies will be sent to 25 different cities and towns across western Massachusetts.

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