While back to school shopping is in full swing for most families this time of year, it is a difficult time of year for families with children battling cancer, or another life-threatening illness. Friends of Karen, a Westchester-based non-profit helps support these families with their annual Back to School Program which collects new backpacks, notebooks, markers, pencils and gift cards and distributes them to more than 850 Friends of Karen children in the tri-state area so they can begin the new year happily and successfully.
Friends of Karen parents say how shattering it is to go into a store and see healthy children, so excited about the new year, choosing their school supplies while their own child is in the hospital, uncertain about what the next day will bring. Parents often agonize between buying new school supplies for their “well” child or paying their ill child’s mounting medical expenses.
New backpacks (for all ages) and $25 gift cards (to Target, Forever 21, Macy’s, The Gap, Old Navy, Visa/MasterCard) are in high demand for Friends of Karen families. Other school supply items such as three- ring binders, filler paper, composition books and Crayola washable markers are also needed. Donations are being accepted until September 15 and can be mailed to office headquarters at 118 Titicus Road in North Salem or dropped off there.
Friends of Karen helps families throughout N.Y., N.J .and CT. The organization is unique in that it customizes the assistance they provide. Realizing that a life-threatening illness of a child impacts the entire family, Friends of Karen social workers work with each family member offering an individualized program of emotional, financial and day-to-day practical support. For more information, visit www.friendsofkaren.org.