The beginning of school can be a financial struggle for many families in our area. The expenses of school clothing or supplies can lead to additional anxiety and stress in a home, and many families may find it difficult to make ends meet.
For over 30 years, Memorial Assistance Ministries has offered assistance to families in need of help. Through its Back to School Program, parents are given an opportunity to take their children shopping for new clothing. Imagine the relief a parent feels when they can send their child back to school feeling confident about a new school year. Providing school appropriate clothing plays a critical role in giving children the basics they need to succeed in school, and MAM hopes to help at least 6,000 children in 2017.
This program is possible through a partnership between MAM and schools in Spring Branch ISD, Aldine ISD, CyFair ISD, and Houston ISD. Teachers and counselors alert MAM when there is a child in need, and before the school year starts, MAM sends each school shopping vouchers to distribute to those families. Then, parents can redeem the voucher, similar to a gift certificate, at a nearby partner store. Finally, each partner vendor sends MAM a bill for the total number of vouchers redeemed in their store.
“This way, children have the same shopping experience as their classmates, and in the eyes of the child, mom and dad maintain their hero status!” said Christina Finley, MAM Development Officer who manages fundraising for the Back to School Program.
Throughout the year, MAM raises money in the community to fund this program. It costs MAM approximately fifty dollars to provide clothing, socks, belt, underwear, shoes and supplies for one child. Individuals and businesses can help by making donations, holding a drive to raise funds, sending our donation link to friends or colleagues. Online donations can be made at www.maministries.org/backtoschool.
“As a community, we must all work together to eliminate barriers to regular school attendance, relieve family stress and build each child’s self-confidence,” said Martha Macris, MAM President and CEO, “MAM’s Back to School Program is uniquely positioned to lead the charge. We have the strategy, the relationships and a proven history of success.”
For more information about the program, to find out about schools in your area, or for help organizing a drive, please visit www.maministries.org/backtoschool or email Christina Luna Finley, Development Officer, at [email protected]. MAM is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and all donations are tax- deductible to full extent of the law.