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Donations of school supplies sought for Buffalo’s refugee children

Jonathan Garcia/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Jonathan Garcia/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The local nonprofit International Child Advancement is coordinating a back to school drive to equip the children of refugee families in Buffalo with supplies for the coming academic year. Donations will be accepted now through Aug. 17.

The mission of International Child Advancement is to empower orphans and underprivileged children worldwide through education, vocational training, mentoring and more.

Evelyn Kessler, the organization’s founder and executive director, said the school supplies drive is a way to relieve one financial burden from newly-arrived refugee families.

“For many of these families, they’ve had to start from scratch, start from zero—especially those coming from refugee camps,” she told WBFO, speaking in a phone interview. “And having to figure out where to go, how can you get these supplies [can be difficult]. Many of them don’t even have enough funds.”

“We want to relieve the families of that expense [of school supplies] so that they can put those funds toward other necessities, such as food or health care or anything else that they have to deal with.”

Kessler said any and all school supplies required for students in Kindergarten through 12th Grade are needed. Specific items requested include pencils, pens, crayons, erasers, notebooks, glue sticks, markers, highlighters, rulers, folders, binders, paper, index cards, scientific calculators and backpacks.

Any extra donations collected will be sent to children at Group United to Help Abandoned Orphans (GUAOA) Orphanage in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Kessler’s family is originally from.

There are four drop-off locations for donations:

  • Larkin Center of Commerce - Lobby 701 | Seneca St., Buffalo, NY 14210
  • Salon de Coquette | 484 Connecticut St. Buffalo, NY 14213
  • Choco-Logo Confectionery Design | 141 Broadway, Buffalo NY
  • Sasmita Batik Indonesia | 617 Main St., Buffalo, NY (in the Market Arcade)

Donations will be distributed to local refugee families on Saturday, Aug. 24, from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Christ is the Answer International Fellowship Church.
For more information, please visit www.childadvancement.org or email evelyn@childadvancement.org.

Kyle Mackie is a multimedia journalist with reporting experience in Israel and the Palestinian territories, the Western Balkans and New York City. She joined WBFO to cover education and more in June 2019.
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