NORTH SALEM, N.Y. -- For some families caring for children with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses, school supplies often get pushed toward the bottom of the priorities list. That’s when North Salem’s Friends of Karen program springs into action.
Friends of Karen provides vital, practical and comprehensive support, at no cost, to Westchester families from its headquarters at 118 Titicus Rd., North Salem, N.Y. The IRS 501(c) (3) charity -- and the only organization of its kind in the New York Tri-State region -- is seeking donations to fill up to 800 backpacks for the upcoming school year.
Over the summer, Friends of Karen collects donations of school supplies, backpacks and clothing gift cards to make sure each of their sick children and their well siblings start the school year well-prepared.
“Imagine going into a store and seeing happy, healthy children choosing school supplies and clothing while your own child is in the hospital, or having to decide whether to buy a backpack and new school shoes for your ‘well’ child or paying for medicine for your sick child,” said Friends of Karen’s Executive Director Judith Factor in a statement. “Our back-to-school collection is a wonderful way the community can help in a very tangible way, so that parents don’t have to make these impossible choices.”
Volunteers are encouraged to donate items such as: new two-inch three-ring binders; two-pocket folders; wide- or college-ruled filler paper; pencil sharpeners; colored pencils; washable markers; and wide-ruled composition books. The organization is also in need of $25 gift cards to Forever 21, Gap, Macy’s, Old Navy, or Target.
Friends of Karen has reached the lives of close to 14,000 children since its inception in 1978, donating $.83 per every dollar raised to support local families. Headquartered in North Salem, the organization has branches in Manhattan and on Long Island.
“We’ve been doing this program for over 20 years, and it keeps getting bigger,” said Friends of Karen Volunteer Coordinator Denise Tredwell. “This year, we have school lists for more than 800 children.”
For more information or to donate contact Tredwell by email at DeniseTredwell@friendsofkaren.org or by calling (914) 617-4052. Visit friendsofkaren.org for more information on the organization.