“On behalf of Catholic Charities, I would like to thank the community, local churches and the following businesses for their support of our Annual Back to School Drive: Buffalo Wild Wings, Chemung County Library District, Community Arts of Elmira, Community Broadcasters, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Famous Brands, Farmers Insurance, Mr. Panosian’s Famous Shoes, Parmenter Tire, Auto & Truck Service, Quinlan’s Pharmacy, The Hi-Lites, The Purple Iris Boutique, Treu Office Supply & Furniture, Visions FCU, and the Watkins Glen Public Library,” states Katie Rhodes, Development and Marketing Coordinator at Catholic Charities.

Kids showing off their new backpacks in Elmira

Due to the incredible community support, Catholic Charities was able to distribute backpacks and school supplies to 552 children in Chemung and Schuyler Counties. Items were distributed at two Back to School Kick-off Events in Watkins Glen (on August 23) and Elmira (on August 31). At both Events, children and their families were able to browse vendor tables from local nonprofit agencies and businesses, enjoy live music and receive free haircuts. “We are so thankful for our volunteer hair stylists who traveled to both locations to donate their services. Seeing the smiling faces of children with fresh haircuts is a highlight of our event,” Katie Rhodes remarked.

Kara Liberatore (Hello Beautiful Salon) cutting hair in Watkins Glen

Special thanks go out to Teri Dobbs (Tranquility Salon, Horseheads) and the local stylists who donated their time at our Events: Christine Doan and Breanne Haslund (Tranquility Salon), Stephanie Glover (JC Penney Salon), Kara Liberatore (Hello Beautiful, Horseheads), Tammy O’Hare (O’Hairs Salon, Newfield), Emily Wilcox (Touch of Tranquility, Corning).

The assistance from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Knights of Columbus, Junior League of Greater Elmira Corning, Ladies of Charity, Watkins-Montour Rotary and Parish Staff was essential for making the Events run smoothly and providing the necessary supplies for the children. Over 15 local agencies, businesses and credit unions attended both Events and provided information, prizes, and resources for families in attendance. In addition, as part of the Kick-off in Elmira, The Elmira Community Kitchen served 195 meals with the help of the Knights of Columbus and Catholic Community Volunteers. We are extremely grateful for community members coming together to help children start the school year off right in both Chemung and Schuyler Counties.

Visiting with the Fidelisaurus in Watkins Glen

Catholic Charities also received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from Congressman Tom Reed’s office in recognition of their efforts to help alleviate the effects of poverty on families with children through these Events in Chemung and Schuyler Counties.

If you still would like to donate, new school supplies and new backpacks will still be accepted at The Samaritan Center (380 S Main St, Elmira); Monday – Friday, 9 am – Noon & 1 pm – 4 pm; Schuyler Outreach (112 10th St, Watkins Glen); Tuesday & Thursday, 9 am – 2 pm, Friday, Noon – 4 pm until October 31.

If you are interested in assisting or tabling next year, please email Development and Marketing Coordinator, Katie Rhodes at Katie.Rhodes@dor.org or call 734.9784, ext. 2133.