ROCHESTER, Michigan – For the first time in two years, more than 400 students ages pre-K to high school shopped in person at the annual Blast Off 2 School event at held Neighborhood House on August 13.
Now in its sixth year, the annual program is sponsored by Assistance League® of Southeastern Michigan in partnership with Neighborhood House and Ascension Providence Hospital, all based in Rochester.
This year, 433 children shopped for themselves with the help of an Assistance League volunteer. Each child received a bag full of new necessities: socks, underwear, shirt, hoodie, hygiene kit and an age-appropriate book.
Neighborhood House also gave each student a backpack filled with school supplies.
Due to previous COVID-19 precautions in 2020 and 2021, only “contactless” shopping was allowed. Eligible families then picked up their child’s bags at curbside.
One youngster, Jackson, 10, was so excited that he kept pulling items out of his blue Assistance League bag to show his mother.
“I got a Minions toothbrush, underwear and socks!” he said. When she tried to get him to leave, Jackson said, “Wait, I’m not done showing you. Got a book, too!”
“Our goal every year is to ensure that these children have what they need to begin a new school year,” said Cindy Weber, the Southeastern Michigan chapter’s president. “It’s always a privilege for our organization to be a part of this.”
Assistance League of Southeastern Michigan’s established Philanthropic Programs include Operation School Bell for school children, Wee Help for infants, Assault Survivor Kits for victims of abuse and Nourishing Neighbors for those with food insecurity.