UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - United Way held its third annual back-to-school supply drive on Thursday. They distributed over 1,500 pounds of school supplies, making it the biggest drive yet.
Six education programs were at United Way collecting the backpacks, crayons, notebooks, pencils and more.
For families not tied to these programs, they can pick up supplies at two distribution centers. One is Catholic Charities in Ilion and the other is Family Place in Utica.
United Way is a non-profit organization and they say locally, education is high on the list of priorities. These school supplies will help children who can't afford them start off the school year on the right foot. The associate director of Catholic Charities, Cynthia Cardarelli, has been part of the drive for the last three years and has seen firsthand how much the need has increased.
She says the combination of a dismal economy and the recent financial hit from flooding has hurt families in Herkimer and Oneida Counties. She said she's happy to help take one burden off parents' shoulders.
"This kind of thing is just a wonderful thing so the children will have supplies. They won't feel awkward going to school without having the sufficient supplies they need and I think that it just overall makes the community aware of the problems too of the issues in the area and I think it's just kind of a good feel thing that makes people realize there's people out there that care for them," Cardarelli said.
The distribution centers will start handing out supplies on Friday, August 30:
Family Place - Oneida County
309 Genesee Street, Utica 13501
Catholic Charities - Herkimer County
61 West Street, Ilion 13357
They are asking families to call ahead of time.
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