Merrimack, Charity Partner to Aid Schoolchildren

Merrimack's Hands to Help/Manos Para Ayuda program is holding its third annual Back to School Supply Drive for underserved school children in nearby Lawrence, Massachusetts this month. Director Rosana Urbaez would like to fill 300 backpacks with almost everything students in grades 1-12 will need to start the academic year.

The supply drive started July 15, 2019 and is scheduled to run through July 29. Backpacks chock full of supplies will be handed out to students August 12.

Hands to Help, which is part of the Office of Mission & Student Affairs, advocates for academic success among students in Lawrence. The supply drive speaks to the College’s mission of enlightening minds, engaging hearts and empowering lives.

“I think that in trying to build a better relationship with Lawrence community, we get a better understanding of their needs and can walk hand-in-hand with the need,” Urbaez said. “I think it builds a better relationship between Merrimack College and the Lawrence community.”

Finances in some families are so tight that they have trouble affording school supplies in the same way they have trouble buying Christmas presents, Urbaez said. The supply drive relieves some of the financial pressure they feel and helps build a foundation for a more successful school year.

“The School Supply Drive helps to overcome in a small, but meaningful way, the inequality of educational opportunity faced by children,” said the Rev. Ray Dlugos, O.S.A., vice president for mission and ministry. “Making it easier for them to experience good education is certainly part of our mission to enlighten minds, engage hearts, and empower lives.”

Some donors in the college community are filling entire backpacks while others are contributing some items that can be assembled into a backpack by the Hands to Help office.

Urbaez’ office works with the St. Vincent De Paul Society, which refers clients to Hands to Help when they need help getting school supplies.

The list of needed items includes notebooks, folders, pencils, sharpeners, pens, binders, highlighters, erasers, pencil boxes, Crayons, colored pencils, markers, backpacks, binders, and loose leaf paper.

Donations can be dropped off at room 340 on the third floor of the Sakowich Campus Center. For more information, email Urbaez at


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