Backpack Gift

Putnam Rotary Club President Rande Chmura, left, and Vice President Delpha Very manned the table with backpacks filled with school supplies for TEEG's students in needs.



Courtesy photo.


By Linda Lemmon
Town Crier Editor

PUTNAM --- When she heard from TEEG director Donna Grant last spring that often children served by the group did not have backpacks or school supplies, Putnam Rotary President Rande Chmura got an idea: The club was looking for children to help and these children needed help.

She applied for a Rotary District 7890 matching grant for backpacks and supplies. The district received 44 proposals totaling $81,000, Chmura said, but only $49,500 was available. The Putnam Rotary Club won one of those grants, receiving $250 from the district, and that was matched by the club.

Meanwhile, Grant said, Cargill Chevrolet made a generous donation allowing TEEG to purchase backpacks at wholesale cost from Danielson Surplus.

Chmura said the club used most of the $500 total to fill those backpacks with pens, pencils, calculators, Crayons, notebooks, highlighters and more.

Grant said 165 backpacks were given out to students from Thompson, Woodstock and Pomfret. She added the few backpacks they did have left were given to school guidance counselors for distribution directly to students in need.

When the backpacks were distributed, Grant said, "Our distribution allows kids to walk through and pick out their own backpacks, which is always an enjoyable for staff and parents! Lots of contemplation on color choice and design, and many thank you’s on the way out. Parents continually tell staff how this program helps get their kids ready for back to school. Kids love looking through the supplies and find the folders and notebooks they want. Providing these supplies ensures kids start the year on a level playing field with their peers and helps promote a positives beginning to new school year."

Chmura said there is a bit left of the grant and the club intends to buy tissues and hand sanitizers to be distributed through TEEG during the winter flu season.

Chmura said "My focus for my year (as club president) is to help kids in our community that need help." She added that this coming Christmas season the club plans to collect underwear, socks and pajamas for children in need.