HARTFORD, Conn., Aug. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Connecticut State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier joined state officials today in Farmington for the Fourth Annual Backpack Donation Program sponsored by the Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET). Nappier, who serves as Trustee of CHET, is partnering with the State Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Hartford's Camp Courant to distribute 1,529 backpacks throughout Connecticut.
Backpacks filled with school supplies will be distributed to students in need who will be entering kindergarten through sixth grade across the State. Today, Treasurer Nappier visited Camp Courant in Farmington to present 700 of those backpacks to young campers from Hartford. Later in August, CHET and DCF will distribute the remaining 829 backpacks.
In addition to CHET's Backpack Donation Program, employees of the Department of Economic & Community Development and the Office of the State Comptroller coordinated donation efforts within their respective agencies. Backpacks and supplies collected by these offices will supplement CHET's donations, and will be distributed later in August to elementary school children through social service programs across the state.
"On average, families spend nearly ninety dollars on back-to-school supplies every year. For many Connecticut families with household budgets already stretched thin, this is yet another cost that is challenging to meet. CHET is committed to providing kids with the basic tools they need to have a strong start to the academic year so that they can focus with confidence on their studies," said Nappier.
"An ancillary benefit of this program is the opportunity to inform families of the importance of saving today for tomorrow's higher education costs," Nappier added.
Comptroller Kevin Lembo said, "Every child deserves to begin their school year fully equipped for academic success, regardless of their family or financial circumstances. I am incredibly grateful for these generous donations today -- and for efforts across the state that are producing truckloads of book bags and supplies to ensure that every Connecticut child has the chance to start their school year on the right foot."
At Camp Courant, campers boarded their buses home with colorful bags filled with notebooks, folders, pencils, crayons, and a piggy bank. In addition, each backpack includes a brochure about CHET and the importance of saving early for higher education expenses.
Hartford's Camp Courant is the largest free day camp in the nation and the only camp in Hartford offering free transportation, dental and social services. The six week summer program also provides two meals per day, recreation and educational activities for Hartford youth.
DCF supports thousands of disadvantaged families and children across the state with various social and economic services. The state agency will distribute the backpacks through its regional offices located in Bridgeport, Hartford, Danbury, New Haven, Meriden and Waterbury.
The State of Connecticut offers CHET to help families save for future college costs. Funds deposited into a CHET account have tax advantages, and can be used at accredited colleges and universities across the country, including vocational and technical schools and some colleges abroad.
The Backpack Donation Program is one of CHET's initiatives to support local communities in Connecticut. With the help of organizations like Hartford's Camp Courant and DCF, CHET continues to support programs that promote education and financial literacy throughout the state.
The CHET direct-sold 529 college savings plan was established in 1997, and as of June 30, 2013 has grown to more than $1.9 billion in assets and more than 87,000 individual accounts. State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier serves as Trustee of CHET. The plan manager is TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. For more information about CHET, visit www.aboutchet.com or call the customer service center at (866) 314-3939.
SOURCE Connecticut Higher Education Trust