NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - Friends of Karen, the non-profit children’s charity, has launched its 2018 Back to School Program. 
The organization, which supports families in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut who are struggling to stay afloat financially and emotionally while caring for their critically-ill child, is seeking help from the community in the form of both school supplies and gift cards. 

Friends of Karen parents often recount the emotional heartbreak of visiting their local stores this time of year and seeing healthy children so excited about the new school year, choosing their supplies while knowing their own child is in the hospital, uncertain about what the next day will bring. Parents often agonize between buying new school supplies for their “well” child or paying their ill child’s mounting medical expenses.

“When we received the school supplies today, the look on the kids’ faces…the excitement, it brought a little ‘normal’ back to us and for that we will forever be grateful,” one mom said.

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Over 850 Back to School lists will be filled through the annual Friends of Karen Back to School Program. Boxes filled with new backpacks, notebooks, markers, pencils, erasers, gift cards, etc. are being prepared to be sent out to Friends of Karen families and children so they can begin the new school year happily and successfully. 

Donations of any kind or amount will help give parents peace of mind that their children will be prepared for classes and it will also provide the comfort of heading back to school with a new outfit and carrying crisp notebooks and sharpened pencils to children whose lives have been so affected by a sibling’s illness.

Here’s what is needed:
• $25 gift cards to Target, Forever 21, Macy’s, The Gap, Old Navy and Walmart for new outfits
• 3-ring binders, filler paper, subject dividers
• Pencil sharpeners with covers, low odor dry erase markers, erasable pens, thin markers, pre-sharpened No. 2 pencils
• Flash drives, scientific calculators
• Graph paper, scissors, sticky notes, glue sticks
• Backpacks

All items should be dropped off or mailed to Friends of Karen by Aug. 10.
The mailing address is:

Friends of Karen, Attention: Denise Tredwell, 118 Titicus Road, North Salem, NY 10560

To schedule a delivery or to get more information on needed supplies, contact Denise Tredwell at 914-617-4052 or 

For more information on Friends of Karen, visit or call 914-277-4547.