Children and families gathered outside the Bridgehampton Community House on Saturday to help load up backpacks with summer essentials for local children in need.
The event, which was organized by Hamptons Community Outreach, an organization dedicated to elevating the quality of life of local underserved children and families, brought together children of all ages who were eager to pack bags for a good cause.
The supplies, which were funded by donations from the community, were enough to fill about 75 backpacks for local kids with an assortment of items, from summer essentials like sunscreen, to art supplies, slime and coloring books, and snacks and juices.
“Basically, half of the kids in this township get meals from school and they and their family really depend on school for not just food, but also keeping their kids active and engaged all day,” event organizer and volunteer Solange Schipani said. “We were thinking, let’s get these kids fresh backpacks, some different kinds of activities that are both fun and practical, and some snacks and food, so that we can help make their summer a little bit better.”
In addition to the backpacks, which are being delivered to children, the organization will gift bags of produce and pantry items to the families of the children in order to help meet their summer needs.
“Marit Molin, the executive director of Hamptons Community Outreach, knows and has connections to a lot of different communities and families that are in need, and that benefit from donations like these,” Ms. Schipani said. “For this particular project, a lot of the backpacks and food will be going to kids on Hampton Road and their families.”
The event had no shortage of volunteers despite being arranged on short notice, as children and their families showed up to support the local community.
“The community here really responded very well. We did this sort of on short notice, but there are all sorts of volunteers that we got from social media posts, or people who had reached out previously and said they wanted to get their kids involved in volunteer work,” Ms. Schipani said.
With the supplies organized in boxes in a line, child volunteers grabbed an empty backpack, making their way down the line while filling their backpack up with supplies — when they were finished, rushing back to the “start line” to pack another.
“Not all volunteer events are appropriate for kids,” Ms. Schipani said. “But this was something we thought kids could really both enjoy, but also understand that there are kids out here who aren’t as fortunate as them, and that they have the opportunity to really help out.”