School Supplies Handed Out to Hundreds of Underserved Children

Merrimack College's Hands to Help handed out 300 backpacks stuffed with school supplies for students from kindergarten through high school on Aug. 12. There everything from notebooks, pencils, binders, folders and even Crayons included in the bags.

Supplies were donated by the Merrimack College community after Hands to Help put out a call for help in its third annual Back to School Supply Drive.

Parents began lining up outside Hands to Help at 301 Haverhill St. in Lawrence, Massachusetts an hour before the doors opened. By 9 a.m. the line was stretched around the corner and within just two hours they were all distributed, said Hands to Help Director Rosana Urbaez M’16, of the Office of Mission and Student Affairs.

“I think it was incredible to see the turnout of people who came out to Hands to Help,” Urbaez said. “It was great to see the kids optimistic about the coming year and have the materials they need.”

For underserved families that have two or more children in school, the cost of getting ready for the school year can be a budget buster.

Hands to Help works in collaboration with St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Lawrence to offer services to the underserved that include a drop-in center for after-school tutoring, assistance in filling out tax forms and other government or business documents, English conversation classes, and recreation opportunities.

Serving the underserved is a very Augustinian thing to do and Hands to Help is in keeping with the Augustinian tradition of the College.

“There is nothing St. Augustine preached and taught more frequently than the importance of using our blessings and abundance to alleviate the burden experienced by those who do not enjoy the same abundance,” said the Rev. Ray Dlugos, O.S.A., vice president of mission and ministry for the Office of Mission and Student Affairs. “In fact, he tells us that when we share our goods with the poor, we relieve two burdens, the burden the poor experience from a lack of possessions and the burden we experience from an abundance of possessions.”


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