Bethel Social Services Needs Back-to-School Donations
Bethel Social Services Needs Back-to-School Donations ~ By Wendy Mitchell
About 15 Bethel families will not receive new sneakers and backpacks if the Bethel Social Services does not receive donations soon, said Kathleen Gillen, Director of Bethel Social Services. With less than 3 weeks until school starts, Gillen is hopeful that Bethel families will consider purchasing gift cards in denominations of $25 and up to donate to needy families.
The Social Services Department uses funds they receive from their Christmas bell ringing campaign through the Salvation Army to purchase gift cards to Target and Payless for Bethel’s needy families for back-to-school items. This year, however, they only received enough money to cover about half of that need.
“We have about 30 families we regularly serve but this year we only got about half as many donations as last year.” Gillen said it could be due to the economy and also lack of volunteers for bell ringing.
“I get Target gift cards and usually try to give every kid a Payless gift card for sneakers so they can get what they need,” Gillen said Monday.
Gillen urges residents to consider donating gift cards to Target and Payless so that the Bethel school children they serve will be able to go back to school with the supplies and clothing they need.
Donations can be dropped off in the office of Social Services during normal town hall hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. If Gillen is not in her office during those times, gift cards and donations may be dropped off in the First Selectman’s office. Donations may also be mailed in to:
Bethel Social Services
1 School Street
Bethel, CT. 06801
About 30 families per month use the food pantry at the Social Services office at the Municipal Center, which also is running low on supplies. Gillen said donations are scarce during the summer months when donating food is not on everyone’s minds, like during the holiday season. Specific needs include non-perishable food items, diapers and laundry supplies, which Gillen said, “seems to fly off the shelf.”
Bethel families in need can sign up for assistance by contacting Bethel Social Services at 203-794-8536. Proof of residency and income is required.