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Backpacks with school supplies heading to children in families struggling with substance abuse

sisters backpack note.jpg
WAER
/
Scott Willis
A note on one of the backpacks assembled by the Sisters.

The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities spent the day Monday assembling backpacks with school supplies and other items at their residence in Liverpool.

The items will be distributed to children of single parents who are recovering from substance abuse through the county’s problem-solving court. An organization called Mothers and Children in Crisis, or MCC gets the information from caseworkers and will deliver the packages over the next several days. MCC Executive Director Sister Cheryl Wint says it’s a struggling population that’s often overlooked.

"For about 100 miles around Syracuse there's no group or supportive housing for these individuals, especially involving treatment for substance abuse, and so that is the population that we concentrate on and work with the problem-solving courts with," Wint said.

For the better part of two decades, Wint says the Sisters of St. Francis has had a long-term goal of building a facility in Onondaga County to keep families together while parents undergo treatment.

"If we're able to do this for them, it will allow them, for example, to keep their child in one school and then they're not being distributed based on every treatment process through a different district, different county," Wint said.

She says MCC and Sisters of St. Francis are ready to work with the county and the state to build such a facility. Wint hopes the pieces can finally fall into place.

"I know everyone's aware of the need, it's just a matter of going through the process of funding and finding the capital to be able to do it and then the reoccurring revenue that's involved with that," Wint said.

The school supplies and clothing will be delivered to 80 children in 30 families, ranging in age from infant to 19. The Sisters of St. Francis used a grant to purchase supplies, and Holy Cross Parish donated backpacks and other materials. The Sisters of St. Francis is a WAER financial sponsor.

sisters filling folders.jpg
WAER
/
Scott Willis
The Sisters of St. Francis of Neumann Communities filling folders.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at srwillis@syr.edu.