While my son isn't school age quite yet and I've never been in the position to have to buy school supplies for a child of my own, I understand that the struggle to come up with money to buy everything a child needs for the new school year can be tremendous.

My family was quite poor when I was growing up, and with seven kids, my parents had to find creative ways to make things stretch. Most of the time we went back to school in the fall with the same supplies we'd gone with the year before because my parents made it clear that our folders and crayons and such had to last for more than a year. They simply couldn't afford to buy us new things each year.

I remember the year that someone gave my parents a bunch of school supplies and it was like Christmas came early. I got a new backpack, and Trapper Keeper, and even some Lisa Frank folders and my whole year was made. I'll never forget the joy that I felt at having new things like the rest of the kids I went to school with.

If trying to figure out how you're going to get your kids the supplies they need for back to school has you concerned, the City of Binghamton, Community Advocates Restoring Educational Standards, and the Healthy Lifestyles Coalition want to help.

A staggering one-third of all families and one-half of children in the City of Binghamton live in poverty and Binghamton Mayor Rich David says,

For many families, the cost of purchasing the basic supplies that children need to succeed in school is a huge financial burden. Many children come to school unprepared as a result, putting them at an immediate disadvantage. We want to make sure no Binghamton student starts school without the necessary supplies, helping to ensure that every child has a fair shot at success, regardless of their family’s income.”

To help local families, three school supply giveaway events will be held the next three weekends. If you're struggling to make ends meet and need supplies for your kids, you'll find them: on Saturday, August 12th from 2 to 4 p.m. at Cheri A Lindsey Memorial Park, on Saturday, August 19th from 12pm-3pm at Cheri A Lindsey Memorial Park, and on Saturday, August 26th from 2pm to 4 p.m. at the Broome County Urban League.

On the other hand, if you’re able to make a donation of school supplies or backpacks, you’re invited to drop them off through Monday, August 14th at Healthy Lifestyles Coalition’s temporary location which is at the Binghamton Plaza or at the United Way in Vestal. Additionally, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies invites fans to bring backpacks and school supplies to any of their games this week (Tuesday, August 8th-Thursday, August 10th).

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