Back to School – How Philoptochos Chapters Help

The tail-end of summer is upon us. The weather is changing and parents are scrambling to get their children ready for the school season. Kids have had the whole summer off and are excited to see their schoolmates again. The build up to that first day can be felt throughout cities and towns as everyone is laser-focused on getting it right. But what happens when there is anxiety instead of excitement? What happens when there isn’t enough money to purchase those extra items necessary for a child’s success?

Two Chapters have found ways to ensure this isn’t the case by providing the necessary supplies so children can concentrate on learning instead of worrying.     

St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church Philoptochos in Baltimore, MD holds their “Back-to-School Supply Drive” annually over the summer. They place a large bin, blue and labeled Philoptochos, in their Church and parishioners and friends fill the void by bringing in supplies. They send out a list that includes needs of students and needs of school nurses. The student list includes: Ziploc bags, tissues, pencils, crayons, rulers, scissors, glue sticks, etc. The schools nurses’ list includes: sweatpants in various sizes, insulated lunch bags for medication for field trips, stickers for students, tissues and hand sanitizer. This year they have adopted two schools that are classified as Title I which means that more than half the students are receiving some type of aid: free and reduced lunch, specialized academic attention, etc. One of the schools also receives students from kindergarten through 5th grade who were in refugee camps in Burma. Their goal this year is to fill at least 50 backpacks with these items to help bring smiles to children and parents who are struggling and to ensure that every student has an equal chance to get a good education.

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church Philoptochos in Ann Arbor, MI has partnered with Washtenaw Intermediate School District. The school district is supporting a great number of homeless students, kindergarten to high school, in Washtenaw County. They ensure that students have a place to shower every morning, are dressed in presentable clothing, have school supplies, and have food in their tummies. The Philoptochos Chapter collects school supplies, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, underwear, socks, etc. to guarantee these kids have the necessary items they need to live and ensure that their focus during the school day is on learning.

As the school year approaches we hope that all students will be focused on learning and all parents will feel secure that their children’s needs are met so they have an equal opportunity to thrive. If your Chapter is inspired by these programs, it may be worth reaching out to local school districts and finding out what needs are present in the community and coming together as a parish to lend a helping hand to assist all children be the best that they can be.

-Vivian Siempos