The Community Back to School Bash (BASH) is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization that collaborates with nonprofit organizations throughout Palm Beach County that serve disadvantaged students pre-K through 12 by providing supplies, backpacks, information and resources to empower children to begin the school year with confidence. In 1995 was established and assisted 120 children. The BASH has since grown to include over 70 non-profit agencies serving more 12,000 children.
These children are underprivileged, homeless, at risk of homelessness or in foster care. They are clients of the participating agencies, and therefore pre-qualified to participate based on their need.
At the annual event, each child is paired with a personal shopper who guides them through a “store” of new school supplies. Each child has the opportunity to select grade-appropriate items including backpacks, pens, pencils and other much-needed supplies in the style he or she prefers. These children have limited experience in making the most basic choices for themselves due to their extreme financial situation, so this event is a rare treat for them. In 2013, children at each location will be able to get free school physical, immunizations, health screenings, gently used clothing, new and used school uniforms and haircuts. All family members will get a free meal, as well.
The BASH takes place the first or second Saturday in August, prior to the first day of school in several locations throughout Palm Beach County.
According to the National Retail Federation last year, the average family needed to spend $635 per child to prepare them for school. In South Florida where the majority of the jobs are in the service industry, the family budget is spent on rent, utilities and food – with little left for the children. This event – the largest in the county – exists to provide children the tools they need to succeed in school.
The BASH, a volunteer organization, relies on donations of money, goods and services from local individuals, foundations and organizations. This year we will need $220,000 to provide backpacks and school supplies for children in need.