Kicking Off the Back to School Drive!

COTS has officially kicked off the seventh annual Back to School Drive. The Drive kicked off with the Lake Monsters game on July 1st, where COTS Development & Communications director Rebekah Mott and her kiddo threw the opening pitch. COTS staff tabled at the game and the community donated school supplies in exchange for vouchers to a future Lake Monsters game.

The drive began in 2015 as the #172VT campaign, representing the 172 children experiencing homelessness that year in Chittenden County. Since the 2015 call to action to support youth, COTS has delivered thousands of backpacks full of school supplies to children both in shelter and through partnering organizations.

The Back to School Drive remains vital not just to get supplies into the hands of children who need them, but also to bring awareness to children experiencing homelessness. Children make up a large portion of the homeless population, but they are often the unseen faces of homelessness. Children who experience homelessness have significantly higher rates of immediate and long-term health problems, as well as academic difficulties. (US Dept. of Health & Human Services – Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration)

In Vermont, 1 in 4 people experiencing homelessness are children. That’s 1006 students enrolled in Vermont public schools who were homeless in the 2020/21 school year (State of VT Agency of Education/EHCY Program). In Chittenden County schools, at least 160 children were homeless in 2021, making up 95 families. That’s nearly 4 school buses full of children. It is enough children to fill 8 Vermont classrooms and 13 school basketball teams. One homeless child is a tragedy, 160 is a crisis.

Now that the drive has officially begun, we need your support to get children what they need to succeed in school. You can help out by making a monetary donation to support mental health & education services for children in shelter. You can also bring school supply donations to 95 North Ave, M-F from 9-5, or you can order supplies from our Amazon Wishlist to have them shipped directly to us.

As a fun way of distributing school supplies this year, COTS will be holding a community event at 95 North Ave on August 13th to kick off the school year. The event will include snacks, music, back-to-school haircuts, first day of school outfits, and more. Stay tuned for more details!

This year, we need your help to continue providing supplies to children in the community. With your support, we can make sure that every student in Chittenden County has what they need to succeed in school.