Back-To-School Financial Support & Backpack Safety

August 25, 2023

Summer is coming to an end, and the first day of school is just around the corner. Please keep in mind that starting Monday, in our communities, there will be kids waiting for buses on the sides of roads, and there will be new drivers commuting to the high school.
Please be mindful of speed limits and that buses will be making frequent stops. Additionally, it is illegal and incredibly dangerous to go around a stopped school bus. Let's make sure all of our kids have a great and safe start to the school year.
Please read below to find out how some children are getting a financial boost ahead of the new academic year and to learn some backpack safety tips that could come in handy.
Click on any of the links below to jump to that section of the email:
Coffee and Conversation
I joined Senator James Maroney and Senator Jorge Cabrera for a coffee hour at the JCC in Woodbridge this week. If you would like to discuss anything directly, please reach out to me at to set up a meeting.
Back-To-School Cash Benefit For Kids
The Connecticut Department of Social Services delivered a one-time, back-to-school cash benefit to 7,500 children across the state using federal Pandemic Emergency Assistance Funds (PEAF). This benefit goes to children aged 5 to 17 who were enrolled in the Temporary Family Assistance program in May 2023.
Specific information about the Saturday, August 19 distribution:
  • The one-time cash benefit is $55 per eligible child
  • 4-year-olds who turned 5 by May 31 are eligible
  • 17-year-old who turned 18 by May 2 are eligible
  • Families do not need to apply for the additional funds, all eligible households will automatically receive this benefit on their existing electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards.

The cash benefit coincides with the start of Connecticut’s Sales Tax Free Week, which runs from until tomorrow, August 26, to help families maximize back-to-school purchases or other essential needs.

Connecticut previously distributed approximately $7 million in PEAF assistance in August 2022. The funding for this round of benefits came from a supplemental federal PEAF distribution.

Do's And Don'ts of Backpack Wearing
As your kids get ready to hit the books, they may be sporting a brand new backpack. Doctors stress that it’s important that children wear their backpacks properly to avoid short or long-term problems.
Dr. Phil Mack, an orthopedic surgeon with Connecticut Children’s, encourages you to follow these simple steps:
  • Understand the risks of not wearing or carrying backpacks correctly
  • Work with your child to choose the right backpack
  • Set aside some time to organize and get familiar with the backpack
  • Be your child’s advocate
Click Here for More Backpack Wearing Tips
Support For Women-Owned Businesses

Time is running out to apply for the next round of the Women's Business Development Council’s (WBDC) Equity Match Grant Program. The deadline is September 27.

The program offers grants of up to $10,000 to women-owned businesses in Connecticut that have been in business for two or more years and have revenues between $25K and $2 million.

Since the start of the program, WBDC has distributed 216 grants of over $2 million to women-owned businesses in Connecticut.

Click Here To Learn More About the Program
Derby Construction Update
Crews are making progress on Route 34 (Main Street) reconstruction in Derby. You can see new sidewalks, a buffer area, and future red brick paver on-street parking. The project is expected to be finished in the fall of 2024.
Bradley Road Construction Postponed
The previously scheduled road work on Bradley Road in Woodbridge has been postponed. The town originally said there would be a closure for construction from Monday, August 28 through Friday, September 8. As of this writing, there is no updated timeline for the road work. Stay tuned for any updates in future newsletters.
Home Heating Help

Do you need help paying utility bills? Operation Fuel provides emergency energy and utility assistance to households in Connecticut that are facing financial crisis. Applications for energy assistance are now open through November 10th!

You can learn more at

Derby Events Calendar
Check out the events below to see what's going on in Derby, and click the button at the bottom of this section to access the community calendar.
Derby Community Calendar
Upcoming Events in Hamden
Take a look at the fliers below and click on the button to learn about upcoming events in Hamden:
More Hamden Events
Orange Events and Community Calendar
Check out the upcoming events in Orange, and please click the button below to access the community calendar.
Go on an adventure, fight monsters, and save the world at the Dungeons & Dragons Teen Group on Saturday, August 26 from 2:30 P.M. – 4:30 P.M. at Case Memorial Library! CLICK HERE to register, but drop-ins are welcome.
Orange Community Calendar
Woodbridge Events and Community Calendar
Check out the event below, and click the button under that to access the community calendar.
From dough to sauce, join an instructor to make some pizza pies from scratch using an Ooni pizza oven! This program is B.Y.O.A. (Bring Your Own Aprons!) CLICK HERE to register.
Woodbridge Community Calendar