Doesn’t everyone love the excitement that builds around back-to-school time? We’re already starting to obsess over getting teacher assignments and schedules, planning the kids’ after-school enrichment and activities, and the best part of all⎯shopping for school supplies. But this year, it’s important to remember one more thing to add to that list⎯helping out the 75 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, estimating the need each year at around $4,000 worth of gift cards. Among the 75 children who are helped by social services are families with 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.”

Adding to Hughes’ stress is that one of the major sources of funding that usually supported the back-to-school supply effort disappeared this year. She says it’s always “a nightmare” putting together all the pieces of what the families needs each year, but it will be more so this year. As a result, she’s hoping that the Wilton community will step up and donate. The easiest way to do that is with a gift card to Staples or another place people can purchase school supplies.

That’s already happening in part, it seems. Hughes says Our Lady of Fatima donates enough backpacks to support the Social Services effort, and the PTAs at Miller-Driscoll and Cider Mill Schools have donated the pre-ordered and pre-packaged school supply boxes with everything needed by the students on assistance at those schools. The Wilton Newcomers Club has also just donated $600 worth of gift cards for school supplies as well, according to the WNC president Jessica White.

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.