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St Cjros Carmoval

St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

11th Annual Back to School Carnival Supports Kids and Families

St Cjros Carmoval

St Cjros Carmoval

A startling number of families in Philadelphia – approximately one-in-four households – are in deep poverty, which is defined as living more than 50 percent below the federal poverty level. The chronic stress of living in poverty has an adverse effect on children's academic outcomes, impeding their ability to concentrate and learn, especially during early childhood.

For more than a decade, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children – in addition to delivering many other resources and healthcare services – has helped patients and other children and their families in North Philadelphia and surrounding communities prepare for the new school year by providing backpacks filled with supplies and linking families to vital health and social services resources. Founded in 1875, St. Christopher’s is a partnership of Tower Health and Drexel University.

“One of the best ways to reach families and children in our local community is by providing a day of safe, online fun with virtual games, crafts, live entertainment and more,” says Renee Turchi, MD, MPH, FAAP, medical director of special programs, chair of pediatrics and pediatrician-in-chief at St. Christopher’s. “The backpacks and supplies also demonstrate our deep commitment to childhood literacy.”

Hosted in August 2021 by St. Christopher’s Center for Youth with Special Health Care Needs and Drexel University College of Medicine, the 11th Annual Back to School Carnival, held virtually for the second year in a row owing to the coronavirus pandemic, was a great success. Since the carnival’s inception, the free event has entertained a total of nearly 13,000 children and their families. “While the children have lots of fun, parents learn things about keeping their kids healthy, from food insecurity to dental issues,” adds Turchi.

This year, almost 400 families logged on to take part in live events, watch pre-recorded entertainment videos, and see local celebrities demonstrate games. Six children won gift cards in a Bingo game, and many were enthralled by the live animals—including a porcupine—presented by Fun Time with the Philadelphia Zoo. Walnut Street Theatre and DJ Pedro Ramirez offered live presentations.

One of the best ways to reach families and children in our local community is by providing a day of safe, online fun with virtual games, crafts, live entertainment and more. The backpacks and supplies also demonstrate our deep commitment to childhood literacy.

– Renee Turchi, MD, MPH, FAAP, St. Christopher’s Hospital

Funds and in-kind gifts contributed by more than 25 generous sponsors and donors provided children with 10,000 backpacks filled with notebooks, crayons, pencils, erasers, folders and other school supplies, and many additional backpacks also were distributed during an earlier event on July 23rd, with continued distribution afterward by local health clinics in North Philadelphia. The Melchiorre Family Charitable Foundation served as Overall Sponsor of the carnival, joined by other generous individuals, corporations and foundations. Individuals can provide additional support at any time during the year.

The Melchiorre Family Charitable Foundation stated, “St. Christopher's Hospital provides the children of Philadelphia the supplies they need to achieve success during the school year. We are pleased to support them.”


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