Providence program gets backpacks, more for students

By Patricia Daddona
Contributing Writer
Posted 7/5/13

PROVIDENCE – The Providence Children’s Initiative shopped at the end of June for $1,000 worth of donated backpacks, ponchos and other items at Ocean State Job Lot for students in PCI’s Walking School Bus program.

The June 20 donation of merchandise by the Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation also included umbrellas, sunglasses, snacks and other items students could use on their daily 30-minute walk, as well as mattress and pillow covers, food storage containers and products that promote healthy home living and alleviate chronic health problems like asthma that may prevent a child from attending school.

The Walking School Bus program transports up to 25 students a day to and from Mary E. Fogarty Elementary School in Providence in an effort to combat absenteeism.

The donation was made at the Cranston store where representatives from PCI and its parent organization, Family Service of Rhode Island, did the shopping.

Lack of transportation or parents with health issues prevent about 30 percent of the school’s 477 students from missing a month or more of school a year, said Michelle Cortes-Harkins, vice president of Urban Initiatives for Family Service of Rhode Island.

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