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School supply donations needed for Aug. 28, 29 distribution

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In order to reach its goal of collecting 1,200 backpacks full of school supplies for needy children, the Watertown Urban Mission needs more community support.

With the start of the 2013-14 school year just two weeks away and the backpack distribution days next week, the agency is looking for more donations of backpacks, pencil boxes, pens, pocket folders, erasers and children’s scissors.

“We have about 500 ready, and we’ve expected the need to be at, or greater than, last year when we gave out 1,200,” said Andrew G. Mangione, director of development. “We’ve had a great group of regular volunteers who come in and help out. New this year, we’ve had the mission’s Youth Delegates, who represent their member churches, and have been volunteering to pack the bags in an assembly-line fashion that has allowed them to crank out quite a few in a day.”

Other youths and adults have helped to stuff backpacks, and Mr. Mangione said many people have sent in school supply donations. Community businesses such as Community Broadcasters, Yo-Johnny Frozen Yogurt, Tunes 92.5 FM, Jreck Subs and Sears, also have held supply drives.

Mr. Mangione said each stuffed backpack is meant to be a starter pack of supplies for students. They will be available for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

The distribution days will take place from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 28 and 29 in the community room at the Urban Mission, 247 Factory St. Those wishing to donate school supplies can drop them off at the agency. For more information, call the Urban Mission at 782-8440.

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