Ariana DeMattei, a 7th grader at Westhampton Beach Middle School, knows her goal to fill 150 backpacks with school supplies for area elementary school students in need by the start of the next school year is an ambitious one, but she said with the help of the community, she knows she can get it done.
"I am already off to a great start and am continually encouraged by the random acts of kindness made on my programs behalf," said DeMattei, who is calling her project, Backpacks for Fellow Students (BFFS).
DeMattei, said she decided to take on the project to supply 120 backpacks Westhampton Beach Elementary School students and 30 to East Hampton students whose families are suffering the effects of the economy, as part of her upcoming Bat Mitzvah.
"As part of preparing for becoming a Bat Mitzvah, one is encouraged to do a Mitzvah Project, a charitable act, an act of human kindness," she said. "Children and education are important to me."
To garner the funds to purchase supplies, DeMattei said she is planning to hold several fundraisers in the upcoming months, including a polar plunge, sports clinic, movie night, raffle and bake sale.
She has also set up a wish list on Amazon.com where community members can log on and purchase items like crayons, glue sticks, pencil cases, markers, pencils, pens, and notebooks. The items will then be shipped directly to DeMattei.
In addition, the Jewish Center of the Hamptons has agreed to accept donations on behalf of BFFS. Checks, earmarked BFFS, can be made out to JCOH, and sent to JCOH, 44 Woods Lane, East Hampton, NY 11937.
"Imagine these children’s faces when they are able to walk through the doors of their school in September, confident and equipped with the same supplies as all their peers," said DeMattei adding, "And imagine that of their parents when their child is given the same chance at success as those children who surround them."
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