United Way of Northern New Jersey is seeking help from volunteers and donations of new school supplies for its annual United Way Tools for School drive, allowing children to start the new school year with the basic tools needed for success in school.
The drive will benefit more than 10,000 elementary and middle school children of ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and families in poverty throughout the northern New Jersey region.
United Way Tools for School seeks to lessen the strain on already strapped household budgets. Last year, on average, families with children in K-12 in the United States spent $98 on school supplies such as backpacks, notebooks and pencils, according to the National Retail Federation. That does not include electronics, clothing and accessories.
“ALICE families that are working hard but can’t keep up with the high cost of living are faced with having to choose between buying school supplies or paying for basic bills,” United Way Senior Vice President Kiran Gaudioso said. “Together, we can help ease this financial struggle and give students the basics to start off the school year on the right track.”
United Way is making it easier to make donations by partnering with YouGiveGoods.com again, which allows donors to make an online purchase of supplies that will be delivered automatically to United Way. Donations can be made by visiting www.UnitedWayNNJ.org/ToolsforSchool.
In addition, donations will be accepted throughout the five-county region. The following is a list of local drop-off locations.
Morris County: On Thurs., Aug. 18, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., donations can be dropped off at Housing Partnership in Dover.
Suburban Essex County: on Mon., Aug. 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., donations can be dropped off at the United Way office in Montclair.
Warren County: On Tues., Aug. 16, from 9 a.m. to noon, donations can be dropped off at Taylor Street School in Washington.
Based on the needs expressed by local educators, United Way is collecting the following school supplies: backpacks, lunch boxes, binders, three-ring notebooks, book covers, filler paper, pocket folders, composition and spiral notebooks, index cards, calculators, pencils, pencil cases, pencil sharpeners, erasers, pens, highlighters, crayons, markers, colored pencils, construction paper, glue, tape, rulers, dry erase markers, and scissors. In addition, school nurses have asked for personal care items such as toothbrushes, deodorant, Band-Aids, and kindergarten and first grade-aged children’s underwear and socks. Gift cards that can be used to purchase items such as shoes and clothing are also appreciated.
Last year, with the help of 292 volunteers, supplies valued at $114,000 were collected and distributed to 55 elementary and middle schools and 14 nonprofit agencies throughout the northern New Jersey region.
For more information about making donations, visit www.UnitedWayNNJ.org/ToolsforSchool, email Lisa.Galonardo@UnitedWayNNJ.org or call 973-993-1160, ext. 503.