WORCESTER, Mass. - Worcester Public Schools students will begin class two weeks from Monday. Leading up to day one, there has been a number of fundraisers and events aiming to help students and families in need. Last week, 508 Forever Young hosted their annual backpack drive, handing out more than 100 backpacks. On Saturday, there was more assistance for those in need of a helping hand.
The Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging and the Grandparents Raising Grandkids Resource Center hosted the first ever "Grandparents raising grandchildren back-to-school Fun Fest." The event was geared towards grandparents raising grandkids who need support ahead of the school year. The hope was to provide social services and resources, like school supplies, backpacks, grocery gift cards, and even things like shoes and haircuts. Grandparents also had access to resources about nutrition support, vaccines, and financial assistance. The CMAA says a child can end up with a grandparent for a number of unforeseen circumstances, and sometimes they don't get the help they need.
"There's a number of reasons why these kids are left with their grandparents to raise them," said Dr. Moses Dixon, president and CEO of the CMAA. "A lot of it has to do with substance abuse and misuse. A lot of it has to do with some of the parents, unfortunately, passed away. These families are left with taking care of these kids. So, there's a lot of events throughout the summer and the year that's for everybody. But we wanted to make this special for the grandparents who are raising their grandchildren."
The CMAA says recent census data shows there are an estimated 2.6 million grandparents responsible for raising grandchildren in the country. They estimated around 3,000 people attended throughout the course of the day.