To the Editor:

The Back-to-School (BTS) Clothes for kids program of United Way of Western Connecticut was a huge success thanks to the generosity of our donors and volunteers.

This is the 18th year the United Way organized this project in southern Litchfield County for benefit of our families in need.

This year, 250 kids from New Milford, Sherman, Kent and Washington started school with clothing, coats, backpacks, school supplies and personal care items because of our community generosity.

Each box of clothes and school supplies costs approximately $250, so many individuals and organizations made sacrifices to take care of our kids.

We want to thank all who sponsored a child, as well as the many volunteer shoppers who helped stretch our dollars with careful planning.

Thanks to our friends at our local Social Service departments who spent countless hours tracking clients and gathering size and preference information for each child.

Special thanks to Helen Barksdale, who has been with our BTS program year after year, organizing and sorting clothes hours at a time.

We also thank Pat Guastello, Chantal Barksdale and Erin Shannon, who assisted Helen throughout August.

We thank our distribution crew, including the Youth Leadership students, who helped hand out the clothes to the families.

We want to recognize Webster Bank, which generously donated office space to use for the entire month, and Kimberly-Clark Corporation, which provided 200 boxes that were used to distribute the clothing.

And without the effort of the media, we would never have met the need, as donors came forward after reading about the program.

Last but not least, when we were struggling for sponsors, several people came through by finding additional, much-needed money. They included Jeanne Street of Sassy Shoe Co., who held a raffle, as well as a few very special anonymous donors.

Thank you all for going above and beyond the call of duty for our children.

All the clothes and school supplies received through the United Way Back-to-School Clothes for Kids program goes a long way to help our kids start the school year on the right foot.

The thank-you letters we receive from the kids are very touching and underscore how important this program is to them, to their families and to our community.

On behalf of all the families we help -- thank you.

Lynn Mohlenhoff

Southern Litchfield

Community Council

United Way of

Western Connecticut