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Tools for Back to School

Backpacks for Local Families

Today was a very special day for us here at Precision Auto Repair. As you know we love giving back to the community that continues to support us. We have great programs like Repair it Forward and our Winter Coat Drive as well as many other programs that your support helps us run year after year. But today…. today was something even better. Today we were able to give 200 backpacks to local children going Back to School. Something we like to call “Tools for Back to School“. Needless to say, it’s been an AWESOME day!!!

backpack donation

From left to right: Superintendent of Schools / Michael Richard, Jennifer Stephenson, James Stephenson, Mayor of West Springfield / William Reichelt

Giving back to the Community

Last May I was out in the lot and there were a few kids riding bikes past the shop. One of them in particular had fallen behind his friends because he was trying to hold his books while riding down the street. It looked like he was really struggling. He  stopped at the intersection waiting to cross Route 20 so I decided to walk over and talk to him. After a quick conversation about his bike (to break the ice) I jokingly said “You would be a lot faster on that thing if you put your books in a bag”, sort of prying to see why he’s carrying the books.  His answer…. “I would but I don’t have one.”

I have a few extra gym bags in my office so I immediately gave him one of mine. This got me wondering how many children actually need something like this? Something small that most of us take for granted or like myself, have multiple of that we’re not even using.

Google can tell you pretty much anything so I did a search and found that there’s actually a huge need for all sorts of school supplies. I found an article that said that the average family spends about $1000 on Back to School shopping PER CHILD!!! So I sat down with Jennifer and we came up with our newest program “Tools for Back to School“.

For those of you that haven’t actually met Jennifer, she’s my sister. Jennifer has been involved with the company for quite a few years and currently serves as our Office Manager. What she actually does is organize the million tasks I throw at her everyday and help to keep us all organized. As well as make sure that Tai gets his Cheeseburger Chowder every Wednesday from Celery Stalk (if you haven’t tried it do yourself a favor….). Aside from being my sister, she’s a loving single mother of 2, and a valued asset to the overall success of this company. She always plays a large roll in creating and implementing programs like this and she has more than earned some recognition. “Thank you Jennifer.”

200 Backpacks with Pens, Folders, and Notebooks

Jennifer and I didn’t grow up wealthy and while our parents did what they could, both of us can remember several years of not having backpacks and other essential things we now take for granted. So this became a wonderful opportunity to help some local families.

The plan started small. I said “How about 50?”, she said “100”, then as sibling rivalry would have it I doubled it.  We both agreed that 200 backpacks would be the right amount to make a meaningful impact.

When we got the 200 bags we still felt that wasn’t enough so some of the staff took a few hours and filled each one with a folder, a notebook, and 2 pens. My oldest daughter also helped and wanted one so there are actually only 199 bags that were donated…. I couldn’t tell her no.

Once everything was assembled we dropped them off at the Mayor’s office and received a very warm welcome from Mayor Reichelt and the Superintendent of Schools, Michael Richard. Superintendent Richard spent a while with us discussing his current position and talked a bit about his career path that led him to where he is now. He’s a very driven and goal oriented man with big plans for the West Springfield School System. We should all be very proud to have him and Mayor Reichelt running the show. They do a wonderful job.

What’s Next?

Everyone here really loves doing things like this. It was a nice way to close out an amazing summer and we will be announcing another program that allows us to give back to the community in a huge way in a few weeks. Hint: It’s is our biggest one of the year. Stay tuned and thank you all for your continued support. Without you we wouldn’t be able to continually grow this company year after year or afford to provide amazing programs like this.

From the bottom of my heart. Thank you all!!


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