Utica, NY (WIBX) - The United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area is leading another effort to help prepare area kids for the upcoming school year.  Last year, the non-profit group raised half-a-ton of supplies and are hoping to top that this time around. Executive Director, Brenda Espicopo says the goal is to help meet the needs of a community still dealing with a tough economy.

Episcopo said, "A lot of families are still struggling and to not know if you're going to be able to get your kids all the supplies they need to start school--kids are nervous that they're not going to be prepared--and, what a great way to send them off to start off the school year, confident, because they have everything they need to get started. It's the difference of night and day in their ability to learn."

This year, United Way is making it even easier to donate. Episcopo says if you text the word "United" to "52000," $10 will be donated to the drive and charged to your phone bill. "We want to make it as easy as possible for people to participate and give back to the community--that's what United Way does, we match up people in need with resources," she said. Also, those wishing to hold an internal drive at their office, or small business are asked to contact Adam Lawless at (315)733-4691 x224, or via email at AdamL@unitedwaygu.org.

Families in need of school supplies can call the United Way at (315) 733-4691 to learn about distribution options. The group is working with partner agencies to coordinate these efforts, which include a public distribution to be held in Herkimer and Utica.

Drop Off Locations:

  • Target - New Hartford
  • Herb Philipson's - New Hartford, Rome, Herkimer
  • K-Mart - New Hartford, Herkimer
  • Adirondack Bank - Ilion, Mohawk
  • Adirondack Bank - 185 and 2817 Genesee Street, Utica