Niagara Gazette


September 3, 2012

Cataract joins with Olin to provide students with backpacks, supplies

Niagara Gazette — Back to school time is stressful. There's getting class schedules figured out and finding out what bus to take, if any. 

But none of the stress from those compares to school supply shopping, especially for parents lacking basic resources, unable to give their children exactly what's needed to get them through their next — or first — year of school.

To combat any sense of disappointment or unpreparedness among the children in Niagara Falls, some area elementary schools have partnered with area businesses to provide some of their students with the most essential of materials.

"We know money's tight," Maria Chille-Zafuto, principal of Cataract Elementary, said. "Even if we send a school supplies list home, we know not everyone can come in with what they need to succeed."

Cataract, therefore, has joined with Olin, one of its Adopt-a-School partners, to provide students with backpacks filled with some of the most important materials each student needs.

This is the second year Olin has donated the supplies. Students will receive their own set of colored pencils, as well as crayons, notebook paper, folders, glue sticks and other essentials, Chille-Zafuto said.

Each backpack will contain items each grade level puts emphasis on, she added.

Olin isn't the only company helping at Cataract, though. She said Sam's Club, which is another Adopt-a-School partner with Cataract, will once again provide a number of gift cards for teachers to spend on some replacement supplies as the backpack materials wear down or fill up.

Chille-Zafuto said the majority of the teachers spend their own money on supplies for their entire classes, which a past relationship with Sam's Club has helped defray.

"Things do run out," she said. "I guess that's why stores have sales on school supplies in January. Teachers tend to spend between $500 and $1,000 of their own money on supplies. This definitely helps offset this."

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