Youth living at The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia’s Red Shield Family Residence got quite a special party this week. The room was packed with new book bags, notebooks, markers, crayons, pencils and much more. Our friends at Philadelphia Gas Works conducted a collection drive over the summer. Employees generously donated back to school supplies for dozens of children living at Red Shield, a transitional housing program for approximately 41 families who are working towards self-sufficiency.
“This is great,” said Holly, a Red Shield resident and mother of 7-year old Jayden. “This is such a big help financially. It’s one less expense, so I can use that money to help us get back on our feet again.”
The children lined up patiently with big smiles, and when it was their turn, a PGW employee walked with them and helped them pick out their new backpack and supplies that were stacked on the tables around the room.
“We hope we have a lot of young scholars who will do a great job in school this year,” said Lorraine Webb, Vice President of Human Resources, PGW. “We do this because we are part of the community. The energy in the room is fantastic,” she added.
The youth couldn’t help but show off their new bags full of much-needed school items to each other and their parents.
“Each year it seems the schools send out longer lists of supplies that the kids need to start the year,” said Kelly Devlin, Director, The Red Shield Family Residence. “The help from PGW decreases the financial burden on our families. This event makes it special for them too.”
Jayden, who is starting second grade this week, was overwhelmed with excitement at the gifts from PGW. His mom was simply overwhelmed by the support from The Salvation Army and our community partners.
“I’m so happy being here,” Holly said. “Red Shield has changed by life and allowed me to start over.”