Citizens Bank is helping 1,100 students start the school year with new backpacks filled with school supplies through its Gear for Grades program. More than 11,674 pencils, pens, folders, notebooks, glue sticks and index cards were donated by the public in all 47 branches across Connecticut. Gear for Grades was organized in partnership with the YMCA and the Connecticut Association of Foster and Adoptive Parents.
According to a National Retail Federation survey, the average American family spent $$688.62 in 2012 on back-to-school expenses. For low-income, at-risk or homeless families, the cost of even basic school supplies can be a burden.
“With the rising cost of school supplies, the Gear for Grades program helps to ease the financial strain parents face this time of year as they prepare to send their children back to school,” said Ned Handy, President, Citizens Bank, Connecticut. “We are proud to play a small role in contributing to the academic success of so many local children who return to the classroom ready to learn. We thank our customers and the general public who continue to support this program by donating new school supplies that make a big difference to the children who receive them. I also want to thank the YMCA and the CT Association of Foster and Adoptive Parents for helping make this program a great success.”
The Gear for Grades program is a part of Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities, the bank’s program for contributing to the economic vitality of communities. Citizens Bank colleagues and community members volunteered to help fill the supplies in logo-free backpacks donated by Citizens Bank Foundation to help ensure children have a positive experience as they return to the classroom. The backpacks will be distributed to children statewide at various back to school-themed events.
“Every child deserves to have the best chance for success in the classroom and our partnership with Citizens Bank and its Gear for Grades program will help to make that a reality for hundreds of children in Connecticut, ”said Margaret Doherty, Executive Director, Connecticut Association of Foster and Adoptive Parents.“The new backpacks and school supplies will make the return to school a more exciting time and a less stressful one for their families.”
Backpacks were distributed to more than 38,000 children across RBS Citizens Financial Group’s footprint where it operates as Citizens Bank in New England and the Mid-Atlantic and Charter One in the Midwest. Since 2003, the Gear for Grades program has sent more than 253,000 children from low-income families back to school with tools to help them learn.
Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities is part of the bank’s broader Citizens Helping Citizens program addressing five key areas: hunger, housing, economic development, financial education and volunteerism. Get more information about Citizens Bank’s community initiatives online.