MELVILLE, N.Y. — "This opportunity to directly give to people in need in our communities and to know that we're helping to enhance the overall wellness of the children is a day that we look forward to all year long."
Gerry Benjamin, executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Henry Schein, is referring to the Henry Shein Back to School Program. This year the 15th annual program is helping more that 2,400 children in 21 U.S. and Canadian cities return to the classroom well-dressed and well-prepared.
Each year, Henry Schein's Back to School program is eagerly anticipated by the children who participate, the human service organizations that serve them, and the Team Schein members who serve as sponsors. The program, which started in 1998 by helping 150 children from Long Island, has now sponsored more than 18,000 children in need from communities across North America, providing the children with new school outfits and backpacks filled with school supplies.
The largest of the Back to School events took place Aug. 29 at the company's world headquarters on Long Island, where 583 children identified by 10 local human service organizations in Nassau and Suffolk Counties participated. At the Back to School distribution event, which features dinner, games, balloon animals, face painting, and music, the children receive their new outfits personally selected and paid for by Team Schein members, and backpacks filled with school supplies, books, and hygiene products.
Additional 2012 Henry Schein Back to School events will take place in Denver, PA, Sparks, NV, Jacksonville, FL, Bastian, VA, Indianapolis, IN, West Allis, WI, Grapevine, TX, American Fork and Sandy, UT, Greenville, SC, Carlsbad, CA, Pine Brook, NJ, Columbus and Boardman, OH, Mandeville, LA, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, Montreal, QC, Halifax, NS, Vancouver, BC, and Concord, ON.
"It is the smiles of the children that we remember long after the event is over, and we hope that they take that same happiness and enthusiasm into the classroom," Benjamin said "Back to School is an incredibly rewarding and special experience for Team Schein, as well as the supplier partners and local businesses that have donated products or provided other support to the program. "
The "Back to School" program is a flagship program of Henry Schein Cares, the company's global social responsibility program, and is supported by the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that works to foster, support, and promote dental, medical, and animal health by helping to increase access to care for communities around the world.
To help identify children for the 2012 Back to School event at Henry Schein's headquarters, the company partnered with local outreach agencies.
"Everyone at the McCoy Center looks forward to the Back to School event because it is wonderful way to partner with a Long Island business leader to serve the children in our local community," said William Pruitt, executive director of the McCoy Family Center. "The clothing, supplies and party atmosphere that Henry Schein provides helps take this burden off of their shoulders and enables these children to start a new school year on a wonderfully positive note."
To learn more about the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, visit www.hscaresfoundation.org.