Mt. Holly, NJ- Every child deserves a great first day of school. Thanks to the overwhelming outpouring of support from generous individuals, local companies, community groups and faith-based organizations, Oaks Integrated Care collected and stuffed 900 new backpacks for children and teens in need of support this upcoming school year. The backpacks were filled to the max with school supplies such as lunch boxes, binders, notebooks, pencils, glue sticks, crayons and more.
For the last 10 years, Operation Fill-A-Backpack has helped thousands of children in Oaks Integrated Care programs. Chief Executive Officer, Derry Holland, says, “Unfortunately, many parents of children in Oaks programs simply cannot afford new backpacks and essential supplies. With the help of our local community, children in our programs are now heading back to school with the confidence needed to succeed.”
The U.S. Department of Education reports that 1 in 5 students live in poverty which can severely impact education. A new stuffed backpack can mean the difference between a child fitting in with his or her peers and being excited to head back to school or a child refusing to go at all. Oaks Program Director, Shannon Gibson, shares, “I wish everyone could see the smiles we see on the kids’ faces as we hand out the backpacks. My favorite response from a 14-year-old boy was, ‘I just don’t like it, I LOVE IT!’”
Oaks Integrated Care offers over 230 health and social service programs for vulnerable adults, children and families throughout New Jersey. Programs include group homes, in-home services, case management, day treatment, outpatient and partial care services, crisis stabilization services, food pantries and special needs supportive housing. For more information, please visit www.oaksintcare.org or call the Development Office at 609-267-5928.