Heart of the Hamptons began as a small food pantry and emergency outreach center over 30 years ago in Southampton and grew into a New York State registered non-profit by 2003. In the time since, Heart of the Hamptons prides itself on assisting more than 1500 people annually thanks to its 50 + volunteers and active board of directors.
In addition to the food pantry and clothing program is an assistance program, providing the community with services, guidance, and advocacy. Under the assistance program umbrella is Backpack Kids, which provides gift cards for eligible families to stores such as Target and Staples, to obtain the school supplies they need. With the first day of school quickly approaching, the year-round program in Southampton School District and Tuckahoe Common School District allows students to confidently walk into the classroom.
In 2016, Backpack Kids raised $5000 in gift cards. The following year, in 2017, that number doubled to $10,000. This year, HoH has already reached $10,000 but is adding more stores to the list, based on needs that arise. The program allows children to kick off the school calendar year “with a full backpack and bright future.”
“Heart of the Hamptons is able to thrive and provide for others because of community members,” said Hilton Crosby, executive director of Heart of the Hamptons.
What makes Backpack Kids unique is it rids the stigma that can be felt by those receiving charitable donations. Gift cards give power to the family and child, in allowing them to decide what they need, with a faculty member available to guide them in their choices.
Learn more about Backpack Kids or donate at www.heartofthehamptons.org.