Doesn’t everyone love the excitement that builds around back-to-school time? Once again, we head back into stores to gear up with backpacks, notebooks, glue sticks and more. But this year, it’s important to remember one more thing to add to that list⎯helping out the approximately 70 Wilton children who get assistance from Social Services, and who also need school supplies.

It’s an easy thing to do, says Lauren Hughes, the social worker who oversees the Wilton Food Pantry and works with the families who receive help. “We are always grateful to receive Staples Gift Cards,” she says. Last year she told GOOD Morning Wilton that the need each year is around $4,000 worth of gift cards. Children helped by social services are pre-K students all the way up to kids leaving for their first year of college.

“Those families are majorly stressed,” Hughes says. “It’s a big help we provide.”

It’s important to note, Social Services wants gift cards rather than the actual supplies. She says it’s always “a nightmare” putting together all the pieces of what the families needs each year, so the easiest way to do that is with a gift card to Staples, Walmart or another place people can purchase school supplies. Another option is to write a check to The Wilton Community Assistance Fund and write “school supplies” in the memo section.

Our Lady of Fatima donates enough backpacks to support the Social Services effort, and the PTAs at Miller-Driscoll and Cider Mill Schools donate the pre-ordered and pre-packaged school supply boxes with everything needed by the students on assistance at those schools. But the need is still great to make sure all of Wilton’s kids are taken care of.

To donate gift cards, bring them to the Wilton Social Services office at Comstock Community Center (180 School Rd.) in an envelope addressed to Lauren Hughes. Donors who wish to receive a tax receipt should include a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) and the original receipt (copies are not accepted).

For more information or with additional questions call the Wilton Social Services office at 203.834.6238.