The four children from Dover Children’s Center sat on the bench anxiously. The man in the brown uniform had just darted out, promising a big surprise. As the minutes ticked away, the kids’ nervous energy grew. What was the surprise? What was waiting for them outside?
Finally the signal was given and the children popped off the bench, filed through the door and, there it was, a huge UPS truck, adorned in flames. From this unique vehicle emerged Ed Spuler, Package Center Supervisor, Northeast District for UPS, holding a red backpack. One by one, Jayden, Braylon, Noah and Cacidy received these bags, which were filled with books and literacy supplies.
This memorable distribution represented the culmination of K-Ready Kids, an early learning initiative powered by United Way of the Greater Seacoast. The drive kicked off on April 15 and ran until May 3, with over 20 local companies participating, collecting books, scissors, crayons, glue sticks, foam shapes and other supplies.
“K-Ready Kids is the crown jewel in our suite of volunteer activities,” said Cindy Boyd, Managing Director of United Way of the Greater Seacoast. “Equipping our kids with the tools they need to succeed in kindergarten is a rewarding and substantial experience, and critical to our work to get children posed for future success in school.”
Once the backpacks had been filled, they rolled out to over 45 child care centers and agencies for distribution. Each backpack contained a selection of age-appropriate books, child-sized scissors, writing supplies, literacy resources for parents and a “Get Ready for Kindergarten” activity calendar, all of which was donated.
“These backpacks have been a wonderful resource and has helped the children get excited about kindergarten,” said Holly Davis, Center Director for Great Bay Kids’ Company in Exeter, a recipient of a shipment of backpacks. “My daughter received a backpack last year and ever since she has used it for everything. It comes with us wherever we go.”