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Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Many years ago when the Back to School Clothing Drive (BSCD) was in its infancy I served on its board. It has always had a special meaning for me.  It was a personal joy each year to see the children’s faces as they received new clothes, shoes and school supplies.

Since that time BSCD has become Arizona’s largest provider of school uniforms, clothing, backpacks and school supplies serving over 25,000 Title I elementary school kids from more than 250 Maricopa County schools and 40 school districts. That is very impressive.

At the end of every July BSCD holds its major annual event. This year it will be July 23rd to July 27th at Grand Canyon University’s arena. This year’s event is called “New Clothes, New Beginnings” and will serve 5,000 pre-registered K-6 students. All of the students are pre-selected and registered for the event by each school’s administrators and then bused to the event.

No matter the venue BSCD turns it into a large department-like store with separate areas. Each child has a personal shopper to help him or her wade through the maze of goodies available. The shopper makes sure the selections are appropriate and the right size.

Each child receives two pairs of uniform shorts and polo shirts, a pair of sneakers and three pairs of socks as well as a belt and sweatshirt. In addition each child receives a backpack filled with school supplies and personal hygiene products. Their last selection is always memorable for there is a special group, Stitches of Love volunteers, who spend the entire year sewing personalized (and very cute) clothes. Each child picks out one outfit made by this special group of people. The total worth distributed that week is over $1.8 million or about $350 worth of merchandise for each child.

It is a special day for each child and twice fold for all of the volunteers. Often after working with a child for awhile that day, the children open up and share stories of need, not just for themselves but for their entire families. Each volunteer receives far more than the value of $350 in merchandise distributed to each child and for many it is an annual labor of love not to be missed.

If you would like to be involved in this event, please email its Executive Director, Karl Gentles at karl@btscd.comor or call 602-256-9408. Perhaps you can persuade the company for which you work to become a sponsor. Sponsorship packages start at $1,000. Again Karl Gentles would be the point of contact for sponsorships. Be sure to check their website at www.backtoschoolclothingdrive.com  . This is not some slick, mega charity for it is made up of ordinary people just like us. It’s a grass roots effort specific to our Valley metropolitan area. You can be assured that of every dollar donated, 95 cents goes directly to the children. Please think about joining this worthwhile effort. Your heart will reap the reward.

© Joyce Clark, 2018         

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