September 8, 2008

New Backpacks for Snug Harbor Kids ; Harvard Pilgrim Teams Up With Cradles to Crayons for Giveaway



Nine-year-old Kevin Tran hefted his new blue backpack loaded with school supplies above his head.

"Is there an elephant in here?" he asked.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care gave 250 backpacks to students at Snug Harbor Elementary School on Thursday, in partnership with Cradles to Crayons, which provides daily essentials to children statewide.

Harvard Pilgrim employees either donated supplies they purchased or made cash contributions to Cradles to Crayons.

"Our employees really love the fact that they can give directly to kids so they can have a successful school year," said Karen Voci, executive director of Harvard Pilgrim.

"It's a great way to kick off the school year we think, and education is health."

Quincy schools received 1,475 backpacks from a partnership program among Cradles to Crayons, Harvard Pilgrim, Quincy Credit Union and Wal-Mart.

"I love (my backpack)," said Christina Jenkins, 9, who hadn't looked inside yet. "If it's this heavy, there is probably a lot of crayons and notebooks and markers."

In these tough economic times, school supplies can sometimes get left by the wayside, said Lynn Margherio, founder and CEO of Cradles to Crayons.

"This is a very special initiative of ours. The backpack is both symbolic and substantive," Margherio said.

"I think (getting the backpacks) inspires the children and it's exciting for them," said Claire Petrie, whose 9-year-old daughter attends Snug Harbor. "And it was great for me to not have to run around and buy all that."

Reach Stephanie Choate at [email protected]

Originally published by By STEPHANIE CHOATE, The Patriot Ledger.

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