Backpack event connects the needy with the caring

Almost 1,400 students in need get back to school supplies, bags

By Lauren Parker-GillStaff Writer, The Times


Jane Johnson, a member of the committee for the Back to School event and a board member of the Bridge Academy and Community Center, helped students choose their backpacks filled with school supplies Friday at Scott Middle School. Photo courtesy of Coatesville Back to School: Prepare for Success event committee.

COATESVILLE – The lines began forming at 8 a.m. for Coatesville’s Third annual Back-to-School: Prepare for Success Event Friday at Scott Middle School where a team of volunteers, community organizations and sponsors came together to provide students in the district with backpacks, school supplies, hair cuts and a celebration for the start of a new school year.

 In years past, several organizations in Coatesville held their own school bag drives to provide supplies needed for a successful year. That all changed in 2012 when 10 organizations combined efforts to hold one bigger, better event for the children and families in the community. In doing so, this event is able to bring the community together to make a difference for the children in Coatesville and to ensure they are prepared for the school year.

Today, the committee consists of the Coatesville Area School District, Bridge Academy and Community Center, Coatesville Center for Community Health, City of Coatesville, Coatesville Soup Kitchen, The Movement, Coatesville Police Department, Coatesville Youth Initiative, County Corrections Gospel Mission, and United Way of Chester County.


Over 1,500 stylish back packs were filled and waiting to be chosen by students in the Coatesville Area School District with the help of 100 volunteers.

Approximately 100 volunteers, all dressed in blue shirts, greeted 1,384 students from kindergarten-12th grades in the Coatesville Area School District as they received school bags filled with age-appropriate school supplies. 1,558 book bags were collected, which exceeded the committee’s goal of 1,500.

Executive Director of the Coatesville Youth Initiative, Chaya Scott said the committee would continue to distribute the remaining bags to the schools throughout the year and will also touch base midyear with the schools and after school programs to refresh supplies.

“It was an amazing day…probably the best one so far.” Scott said.

As administrators and teachers from the Coatesville School District greeted students and met their families, excitement was in the air as all celebrated the beginning of the new school year. Along with free haircuts, provided by the students in the barbering program of the Chester County Technical College High School, there were balloons, moon bounces, snow cones, cotton candy and hot dogs for the children and families to enjoy.


Brothers Trey and Xander Natiello proudly smiled after picking out their new back packs Friday.

“It’s an amazing program. Coatesville has a bad rap and it’s so nice to see everyone come together for this,” said Cameron Natiello who attended the event with her two boys, Trey 8, and Xander, 5.

The Third Annual Coatesville Back to School Event was made possible through the generosity of the following organizations:


Red Sponsors

Brandywine Health Foundation

Bridge Academy and Community Center

Chester County Regional Education Services


Coatesville Youth Initiative

Rita’s of Gap

Rita’s of Intercourse

Rita’s of Exton/Eagleview


Green Sponsors

Bell Chapel True Holiness Church of God

Brilliant Graphics

County Corrections Gospel Mission


Derrick Morgan Foundation

Exton Sam’s Club #6558

Liberty Tax Services


Blue Sponsors

Rotary Club of Coatesville


Children’s Entertainment Sponsors

The Ollis Family


In-kind Donors

City of Coatesville

Wawa Charitable Foundation

YMCA of Greater Brandywine


Friends of the Coatesville Back to School Event

Grove United Methodist Church – Uniform Sponsor

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church         – Uniform Donation

Technical College High School – Hot dog Sponsor

UPS Store 3093-Downingtown

Lauren Ferguson

Jerriann Manze

Crissy Mettinger

David and Jean Grace

Coatesville Soup Kitchen

Cricket Wireless


Bookbag and Supply Donors


The Angela Hawkins Family

Bill Shaw

Bridge Academy and Community Center

Brilliant Graphics

Carol Tritt Family

Calvary Fellowship Church

Chester County Library

Chester County Health Department

Christ Community Church

Christine Lyons

County Corrections Gospel Mission

Coatesville Center for Community Health

Coatesville Area Senior Center

Coatesville Savings Bank

Coatesville Youth Initiative

Communication Automation Corp.

Crossfit Elation

Darletta Kelly

Diane Brownfield

Downingtown East Field Hockey

Dr. Leiss Orthodontics

Farmers Insurance- Denise James Agency

First Baptist Church of Pequea

Freedom Life Christian Church

Gateway Church


Heidi Bowman Family

Henrietta Hankin Library

Hutchinson United African Methodist Episcopal Church Family

The Hutchinson Family

Iota Tau Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated

Jill Santiago

Kennedy Family

King’s Highway Elementary School

Met Life

Pam Lathbury

Penn Premiere Dental

Pepperidge Farm

Romansville United Methodist


St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church

State Farm Insurance

Urban Christian Bowling League

United Way of Chester County

Voya Financial, Community Partners

Willowdale Chapel


Of note: The committee for the Back to School event, who also thank the donors that chose to remain anonymous, provided this list. They apologize for any inaccuracies and welcome corrections.

Please visit the official site of the Coatesville Back to School: Prepare for Success for more pictures of the event or to contact.

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