Mayor Pugh expands back-to-school giveaway

It might be naïve to think politicians up for re-election aren’t trying to capture a few votes when they pass out those Thanksgiving turkeys, back-to-school supplies, and Christmas toys.

But it would be dishonest, or at least short-sighted, to assume kids in Baltimore City don’t need back-to-school supplies, the Baltimore Sun reports. And their families often have difficulty paying for them.

Last year, Mayor Catherine Pugh’s annual back-to-school rally gave away something like a thousand backpacks to city students; this year, more than 3,000 were given away, leaving fewer than a hundred, the mayor’s spokesman, James E Bentley II, was quoted as saying.

Similar giveaways are happening across the country. Mayor Scott Eisenhauer of Danville, Illinois, was at an event over the weekend where he read stories to students and gave away school supplies, with the help of corporate sponsors, the Commercial-News reported.

Mayor Garrett Anderson of Avon Park, Florida, also helped give away free school supplies, with the sponsorship (and collection volunteerism) of several churches in the area, according to a report in the Highlands News-Sun in Sebring, Florida.

One parent in Baltimore told the Sun that her three sons go to a school that requires them to spend about $100 each every year for school supplies. “Any financial help, I’ll take it,” she was quoted as saying.

The event also included immunizations for students, administered by the Baltimore City Health Department, and CPR training, provided by the Baltimore Fire Department.

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Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.