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  • Staff photo by Bob Hammerstrom

    Seniors and other volunteers stuff bags with school supplies Wednesday, August 25, 2010, at Davidson Landing in Nashua. Nashua Goes Back to School takes place today from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Nashua Public Library.
  • Staff photo by Bob Hammerstrom

    Pat Thibodeau stands by with markers as seniors and other volunteers stuff bags with school supplies Wednesday, August 25, 2010, at Davidson Landing in Nashua. Nashua Goes Back to School takes place today from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Nashua Public Library.
  • Staff photo by Bob Hammerstrom

    Joe Belanger, right, fills a box with bags as seniors and other volunteers stuff bags with school supplies Wednesday, August 25, 2010, at Davidson Landing in Nashua. Nashua Goes Back to School takes place today from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Nashua Public Library.
  • Staff photo by Bob Hammerstrom

    Pat Thibodeau, left, and Donnie Goodell share a lighter moment as seniors and other volunteers stuff bags with school supplies Wednesday, August 25, 2010, at Davidson Landing in Nashua. Nashua Goes Back to School takes place today from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Nashua Public Library.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nashua Back to School event is a group effort

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series promoting the Nashua Back to School event held by the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce and the city. The series highlights the different people driving the initiative as well as several influential donors from the region that make this event possible.

September is just around the corner and back-to-school shopping will soon be upon us. It’s an annual ritual for parents and students to stock up on pens and pencils, notebooks and binders, and the occasional calculator in preparation for the next school year.

Every year, many children show up at school without back-to-school supplies or even backpacks. In fact, according to last year’s statistics published by the National Center for Children in Poverty, the rate of children living in poverty in New Hampshire increased by 50 percent over the past eight years.

In response to this need, the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce and the city are gearing up for their annual Back to School event, now in its eighth year. The effort collects both monetary contributions and school supplies from local businesses and the community at large.

This year, the Back to School event will take place 5-6:30 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Nashua Public Library.

Last year, $15,000 was raised. It was enough funding to pack 1,700 backpacks with crayon boxes, No. 2 pencils, spiral notebooks and other school supplies for children returning to schools across the city.

From first grade through high school, fully stocked backpacks will be handed out to school-age children. At the event, children and their parents can enjoy refreshments, games and prizes, as well as free immunizations and a meet and greet with Mayor Donnalee Lozeau and Nashua School District Superintendent Mark Conrad. Parents are required to bring a copy of their child’s immunization record for their child to receive any immunizations.

The event was initially organized as part of a communitywide effort under former Mayor Bernie Streeter to address the school dropout rate. The event is made possible year after year due to the charitable leadership of dozens of area businesses and members of the community including donations of supplies and money to be converted into supplies.

One of the contributors has been Oracle, the world’s second-largest independent software company. Having a location in Nashua, Oracle has been one of the largest donors to date, having been responsible for a major portion of the total donations received by the city over the years.

Leading the program, George Katis, owner of Nashua Wallpaper and Dean’s Carpet, has been a major promoter of the Nashua Goes Back to School event for years.

“It’s a cause that’s close to his heart,” said Terry Williams, publisher of The Telegraph.

Also for the second year, The Telegraph is partnering with the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce in the charitable effort.

The newspaper will promote the event by highlighting the different people driving the initiative as well as several influential donors from the region that make this event possible.

“To affect that many young people is the greatest thing,” Williams said. “We want to publicize the good work they do.”

The Chamber of Commerce seeks donations for the rest of the month leading up to the event. Some of the accepted school supplies include lunch boxes, backpacks, binders, book covers, pencils and pens.

For more information on donations, call Angela Velasquez at the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce at 881-8333 or Mary Ann Melizzi-Golja at 888-9765.

Alexandra Churchill can be reached at 594-6411 or achurchill@nashuatelegraph.com.