NASHUA — A dedicated group of senior citizens volunteered their time on Wednesday to help city youth start the school year on a positive note.
About 20 members of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Southern New Hampshire Services organized and packed thousands of school supplies that will be distributed to Nashua students today.
“No one has a lot of money right now, so we all do our share to help,” said Terry Coutermarsh of Davidson Landing in Nashua, who joined other senior citizens to pack 1,600 school supply bags for local children.
“If everyone does a little bit to help, it amounts to a big accomplishment in the end. Every little effort makes a difference.”
To keep students at the top of their game, members of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce contributed funds and supplies to make tonight’s 11th annual Nashua Goes Back to School event a success.
In preparation for the festivities at Library Plaza, 1,600 goodie bags were prepared on Wednesday — filled with folders, notebooks, composition books, crayons, glue, rulers, pencils, erasers and colored pencils.
“These supplies will help get kids ready for a good school year. It is a nice start for them,” said Tom Dwane of the city’s parks and recreation department.
Alderwoman Mary Ann Melizzi-Golja said it is often difficult for some city families to purchase basic school supplies each August.
“Not only are they getting some free school supplies, but they also have the opportunity to connect with their principal and hopefully experience something positive before the first day of school,” said Melizzi-Golja.
The superintendent and principals from all of the city’s 17 schools will be on hand for the Nashua Goes Back to School event, meeting students and speaking with parents. The celebration will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. today, inside and outside of the library, 2 Court St.
In addition to all of the free school supplies, several resources and services will be offered as well. Numerous city agencies will be on hand to provide free information and handouts about important youth initiatives and safety efforts throughout Nashua.
Applications for free and reduced lunches will be available, and Nashua’s Public Health and Community Services will offer free immunizations to all students who have their updated immunization card and a parent in attendance.
The Nashua Lions Club will also be there offering free eye screenings for children, which organizers say is a great way to ensure students can properly see whiteboards and chalkboards at the start of the school year.
“Some of these children don’t have the chance to go shopping before school starts,” said Alderman June Caron, who helped pack the goody bags on Wednesday. “These preparations also help bridge the gap between students and senior citizens, which I believe is so important in a community.”
All Nashua parents and students are invited to attend tonight’s event, which is being hosted by the chamber and the city.