PBSO and U.S. Sugar team up to supply backpacks

WEST PALM BEACH — To ease parents’ costs for this school year, The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Sugar, Gunster and Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) donated $110,000 worth of backpacks filled with school supplies for students in Title 1 elementary schools in Belle Glade, Pahokee, South Bay and Canal Point. In addition, U.S. Sugar supplied backpacks in Hendry County. Title 1 schools are federally designated as having a high concentration of students from low-income households.

The back-to-school effort was launched in partnership with The Education Foundation of Palm Beach County and its Red Apple Supplies (RAS) Program, a free school supply store that serves the needs of Title 1 schools. Additional partners providing support in this effort included the Hendry County Public Schools Foundation and the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Teresa Dabrowski
From left to right are: Carey Kingree, Christopher Smith, Natalie Menn, Jordan Paul, Nebraska Moreno, Andrea Brauner and Joan Garrick. Jordan Paul is the CEO of NAI/Merin Hunter Codman and also sits on the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County’s Board.

“One surefire way to keep children from falling behind in school is to make sure they are prepared with school supplies from day one,” said James Gavrilos, president and CEO of The Education Foundation of Palm Beach County. “Thousands of school-age children in our community will get the opportunity to succeed thanks to the commitment and generosity of these major employers in our region.”

The Education Foundation of Palm Beach County set up volunteer opportunities at the RAS store in Riviera Beach to fill backpacks with school materials on Tuesday, Aug. 6, through Thursday, Aug. 8. Two shifts were available for volunteers, with the first shift starting between 9 a.m. to noon and a second shift from 1 to 4 p.m.

Deliveries took place before the first day of school. Two Men and A Truck of Palm Beach generously donated their time and equipment to transport backpacks filled with supplies to support nine Title 1 elementary schools within the Glades Region and Hendry County.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Teresa Dabrowski
Volunteers pack backpacks filled with school supplies for deserving elementary school students on Wednesday, Aug. 7, at the Red Apple Supplies Store in Riviera Beach.

“Nearly 70 percent of schools in Palm Beach County are designated as Title 1, meaning, these students and families are living at or below the poverty line,” added Mr. Gavrilos. “This back-to-school initiative will have a big impact on the lives of so many families.”

Since opening its doors in 2016, the RAS has distributed over $900,000 in free school supplies to teachers and students throughout Palm Beach County.

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