Volunteers were hard at work Thursday putting together the last of the 850 backpacks that will be given out to Westborough-area children as they return to school in two weeks.
The brightly colored backpacks have been stuffed with everything children need in order to go back to school, said Barbara LaGrenade, the volunteer coordinator at the Marlborough Community Cupboard.
"It prepares the children with the essential supplies to start their school year," she said of the project organized by the United Way of Tri-County.
With names of students from area non-profits and guidance for grade needs from the schools, backpacks will be distributed throughout MetroWest and the Route 495 corridor. The program has been going on for 15 years, and continues to grow, said LaGrenade. Last year, 800 backpacks were given out.
"It's everything they need," LaGrenade said.
John Dennis of WEEI helped with the backpacks.
In the current economy, these kinds of programs help children get their school supplies, he said.
"There are a lot of people who are hurting, and there are a lot of people who are struggling, and the United Way recogonizes that with over 800 backpacks," Dennis said.
"It is one of the essential things you need to go back to school, so they are doing a great thing."
The program lines up with the United Way's ongoing commitment to helping children and youth succeed. It thrives through donations from area companies and community agencies with 19 and 21 participating last year, respectively. Without these partnerships, the program would not be nearly as successful, LaGrenade said.
"The city of Marlborough has given us great support in taking care of their local children," she said.
For more information and to help with the drive, LaGrenade can be reached at 508-370-4873 or at Barbara.LaGrenade@uwotc.org.