On a rainy, end-of-summer August evening at the Local 103 IBEW headquarters on Freeport Street last Wednesday, more than over 250 Boston Public School students were offered ice cream, backpacks, and school supplies by Mayor Martin Walsh who was hosting the back-to-school supply drive and celebration for elementary and junior high students and their families.
Several local groups and organizations, as well as individuals from the greater community, made large donations of backpacks and supplies.
Students lined up to select their ice cream and toppings, pick out backpacks and various supplies, and socialize with other students and teachers.
“I want to thank everyone that came out in the torrential downpour that we’re experiencing tonight,” Walsh said to the room. “We’ve already collected over 500 backpacks for the kids of the City of Boston.”
The backpacks that were not claimed by students at the back-to- school night will be distributed to kids in need of supplies in the first few weeks of school, which starts Sept. 6.
“This is about the future of our kids. It’s up to us to make sure we take care of the kids in the City of Boston that are in need– and that’s what we’re going to do,” the mayor said, “This year’s budget in the school department is $1.14 billion dollars and it’s the largest in the history of the school department.”
Walsh talked about the city’s responsibility to give back to communities like Dorchester as development continues to expand.
“You think about the growth of our city,” he said, “but not everyone is benefitting from the growth and that’s why we have to have drives like this tonight.”
Peter Arzeno, who grew up in Miami and currently lives in Dorchester, was among many community members who donated supplies.
“I’m here because when I was a kid I was on the other side. I grew up with a single mother and my little sister,” he said. “If it weren’t for the kindness of strangers I know I wouldn’t be here today. I think this is a chance for me to say thank you— by giving back.”