The Human Services Department's Ceremonies and Celebrations Program will return for its eighth year to financially assist graduating Westport middle and high school students in purchasing clothing for commencement ceremonies.

"While new clothing may seem frivolous to some, to many of our students it represents a special occasion marking a new beginning and a job well done," Human Services Director Barbara Butler said in a statement.

Launched in 2004, the program has helped several hundred students to buy new special event clothing.

Members of the public can help graduating students by making a tax-deductible donation. Checks should be made payable to "DHS Family Programs" (memo line: Ceremonies) and will be accepted through June.

Donors can make contributions in honor of a teacher or other important individual in a student's life. Donors are asked to note the teacher's name, as well as the donor or student's name. An acknowledgment card will be sent to the teacher.

Donors can also give gift cards of any amount.

Donations can be mailed or delivered to the Department of Human Services, Westport Town Hall, Room 200, 110 Myrtle Ave., Westport, CT 06880. The department is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

Residents who know an individual who would benefit from the program can call Human Services' Family Program Coordinator, Patty Haberstroh, at 203-341-1069.