A Special J R Glass Job: Providing Backpacks to Homeless Kids

J R Glass Backpacks for FitchburgFITCHBURG — The little purple backpack contained the works.

Kathy Alexander, vice president of J R Glass, pulled items — pencils, notepads, highlighters — out of the bag that would soon be delivered to a third-grade girl in the Fitchburg School District.

“I’m like, wow, this list has changed,” Alexander said, referencing the earbuds, which had been included in the backpack to fulfill a teacher’s back-to-school list.

The bag was one of 60 that J R Glass bought, packed and delivered to South Street Elementary School Wednesday afternoon.

From there the packs will be distributed through guidance counselors to many of the district’s 368 homeless students.

“It was a surprise, but it was a great surprise,”said Kathleen Niemi, the district homeless liaison.

Niemi said the district receives donations from nonprofits and sometimes businesses, like Elite Construction and J R Glass, for clothes and school supplies.

These items go to students who are staying with friends or extended family, call a motel room or tent home, have been displaced by a house fire or are “couchsurfing” unaccompanied youths, Niemi said.

The donation of J R Glass in advance of the school year is the Fitchburg company’s first of what they hope will become an annual tradition.

“The girls are talking about hitting the sales” after the school year begins, Alexander said.

J R Glass Backpacks for FitchburgShe added this would give the company more buying power when making their donation.

“When we started this project we though we would be helping kids in need, (but) we had no idea it was this number,” she said.

In all, J R Glass spent several thousand dollars on school supplies, raised through setting aside money from scrap metal recycling and an unexpected vendor refund.

“Just in time for school,”said Ryan Bessette, owner and president of J R Glass.

When the students open their backpacks, they’ll find another item, one that wasn’t on any teacher’s list, Alexander said.

“Just a little note of encouragement,” she said before showing a white envelope with a card inside. “Have a great year in school. Do your best.”

J R Glass Backpacks for Fitchburg

 

Full story at the Sentinel Enterprise News: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_31190586/special-j-r-glass-job-providing-backpacks-homeless 

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Ryan Bessette, President of J R Glass, with Senator Brown.
Ryan Bessette, President of J R Glass, with Senator Brown.

 

Tom Sweeney, J R Glass project manager, with Senator Brown.
Tom Sweeney, J R Glass project manager, with Senator Brown.

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Fitchburg Housing Authority Thank You Letter (PDF)