FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. What is the Back to School Shop Event?

A. The Back to School Shop event is a one day pop-up "store" where some of the most economically disadvantaged elementary school children in Stamford, CT can "shop" for brand new back to school clothes, shoes, and school supplies for free. 

 

Q. What is the purpose of the Back to School Shop?

A. Many Stamford children return to school each year without the basic clothing and school supplies they need. By providing them an opportunity to shop for new items, the Back to School Shop helps build the confidence and enthusiasm they need for a successful start to the school year.

 

Q.How does the Back to School Shop work?

A. The Back to School Shop is set up like a department store. Volunteer "personal shoppers" help each child select a brand new outfit for school (a shirt, pants, socks, underwear, winter coat, hat, and gloves) and the children are fitted for new sneakers. They also receive a new backpack and school supplies and are able to pick out a new book to bring home.

 

Q. How many children benefit from the Back To School Shop?

A. Over 350 elementary school children “shopped” at this year’s 5th Anniversary event. To date, Back to School Shop has served over 1200 children.

 

Q. How are the children chosen?

A. The children are identified based on need by social workers in their Stamford elementary school.

 

Q. Is this event open to the public?

A. No. The children who participate in the Back to School Shop event have been identified and pre-registered by social workers in the Stamford Public School System.

 

Q. Where do the clothes and school supplies come from?

A. Volunteer shoppers purchase all items throughout the year, using funds generously donated by private individuals, local foundations and organizations.

 

Q. What do the parents do while the children are shopping?

A. Parents and caregivers may visit the on-site Japha Family Resource Center where they can pick up information about healthcare and vital community resources and meet with representatives of many community organizations.

 

Q. When and where is the event held?

A. The 5th annual Back to School Shop event was held on Sunday, July 28, 2019, at a local elementary school in Stamford. Next year’s event will be on Sunday, July 26, 2020.

 

Q. How is the event staffed?

A. The event is staffed with over 250 community volunteers who are trained on-site for their specific jobs.

 

Q. What is the history of the Back to School Shop?

A. Back To School Shop, Inc. is an all volunteer organization that was founded in 2013 by two local women, Meryl Japha and Jane Levene. Meryl and Jane wanted to create an event in Stamford where economically disadvantaged children could "shop" for their own new school outfits and back to school supplies, like their more fortunate peers. They mobilized a steering committee of volunteers to run the event, enlisted the assistance of the Stamford Public School System, whose elementary school social workers identify the children most in need of the program each year. Initially, Back to School Shop operated under the auspices of United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien, to give itself time to get established.  As of September 1, 2017, Back to School Shop, Inc. began operating independently as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, but will always consider UJF as an integral part of its success, and highly values the many members and volunteers the two organizations have in common.

 

Q. Is the Back to School Shop a non-profit organization?

A. Yes, the Back to School Shop is registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with the state of Connecticut.

 

Q. Are donations to Back to School Shop tax deductible?

A. Yes, all gifts are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

 

Q. Who runs the Back to School Shop?

A. The Back to School Shop is run by a volunteer Board of Directors. See more information on board members here.

 

Q. What is the Back to School Shop’s relationship with the Stamford Public School System?

A. Back to School Shop is an independent non-profit organization. It works closely with the Stamford Public School System, which identifies and registers the participating children each year, through the elementary school social workers. In addition, many school system employees volunteer at the Back to School Shop event each year.

 

Q. What is the Back to School Shop's relationship with United Jewish Federation?

A. Until September 1, 2017, Back to School Shop operated under the auspices of United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien, as Back to School Shop worked to establish itself in the community. Currently, Back to School Shop is operating independently as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, but will always consider UJF as an integral part of its success, and highly values the many members and volunteers the two organizations have in common.