YMCA youth will return to school in September better equipped to succeed as a result of the annual Citizens Bank “Gear for Grades” initiative that outfits Rochester elementary school students with backpacks and school supplies.
Colleagues from Citizens Bank today hand-delivered 200 new backpacks filled with school supplies to elementary school children participating in YMCA of Greater Rochester programs. Overall, 500 backpacks will be distributed locally through the YMCA of Greater Rochester and The Boys & Girls Club of Rochester.
This year, Citizens Bank will supply more than 2,500 students across New York State with the gear they need to bring home the grades. Since the program’s inception in 2003, nearly 20,000 elementary school children in Rochester and New York State have benefited from Citizens Bank and the Gear for Grades initiative.
“We are proud to host and participate in the collection of school supplies at Citizens Bank locations in throughout the Greater Rochester Region,” said James P. Gaspo, President, Citizens Bank and RBS Citizens, New York. “This program is an invaluable community resource and exemplifies our philosophy of contributing to the health of our local neighborhoods. My colleagues and I are gratified by the enthusiasm Rochester has shown for this initiative over the past several years. We are also grateful to our community partners for their support in ensuring that these supplies make it into the hands of those families and children who need them the most.”
According to a National Retail Federation survey, the average American family spent $603 in 2011 on back-to-school expenses. For low-income, at-risk or homeless families, the cost of even basic school supplies can be a burden.
Between July 23 and August 10, Monroe County residents donated enough new pens, pencils, crayons, notebooks and other necessary items at local Citizens Bank branches to fill 500 backpacks. Citizens Bank volunteers then filled the backpacks with supplies and delivered them to children through local youth-serving organizations. The backpacks were donated by Citizens Bank.
More than 37,000 backpacks will be distributed to children across RBS Citizens Financial Group’s footprint where it operates as Citizens Bank in the Mid-Atlantic and New England and Charter One in the Midwest. Since 2003, Gear for Grades has provided more than 200,000 children with new backpacks and school supplies.