Claire Gardens Hosts Annual Back-to-School Backpack Drive

1st Period – Lesson Plans

New Gear for the New School Year! The calendar may say early August, but back-to-school (BTS) time is just around the corner for many kids across the country. For students heading back to school can bring a myriad of emotions – excitement, fear, dread(it is the first day of a new school year, after all). However, not having the right school supplies can put kids at a disadvantage, resulting in a significant impact on their health.

Donated backpacks from the community.

According to a 2022 Deloitte Back-to-School Survey, BTS shopping is usually the second largest spending event for parents (behind the holidays). Of those parents surveyed, sixty percent said they were concerned about the higher prices for school supplies this year.

2nd Period – Stacks of Backpacks

For the second consecutive year, Mercy Housing Claire Gardens & Francis Heights held a Back-to-School celebration for Mercy Housing’s youth. With over two hundred backpacks filled with school supplies, including notebooks, folders, pencils, highlighters, and even glue sticks for the littlest learners, families came out on a record-breaking, hot day in Denver to select brand-new backpacks for the upcoming school year.

DPD Officer Abrams talking to kids about the importance of learning.

This year’s BTS celebration was not just about backpacks, though. Members of the Denver Police Department (DPD) joined the community as they engaged with kids, parents, and neighbors while handing out ice cream sandwiches and popsicles. While members of the Denver Fire Department gave the kids tours of a firetruck.

When asked about supporting Mercy Housing’s BTS drive, DPD Officer Abrams said, “Answering questions and connecting with the community is most important.”

There was also a snow cone truck onsite, helping to cool everyone down under the sizzling summer sun. And what would a BTS party be without a couple of DPD horses stopping by to say “hello?”

3rd Period – Future Leaders

After selecting her hot pink backpack, one soon-to-be second grader smiled proudly as she described her excitement about returning to school next month, adding, “my favorite subject is science!”

Second Grade – Here I Come!

And for four-year-old Ray, just the thought of bringing his very own backpack for his first day of kindergarten left him feeling “very excited.”

We wish our youth a Happy School Year – we are excited to see what your future holds!

*A special Thank You to Mercy Housing’s community partners and volunteers for helping to make the Back-to-School drive a positive experience for everyone. We could not have done it without you!