NCJW/Essex received a $2,500 grant from Investors Foundation in support of its 10th Annual Back 2 School Store (B2SS), a yearly event where economically disadvantaged children are able to shop cost-free for brand new attire, school supplies and personal care items, encouraging a well-equipped and confident start to the new school year. The event, on Sunday, July 29, 2018, outfitted 860 children with the help of 550 volunteers.
“The support from Investors Foundation is important to the success of this community-wide event,” said Lesley Greenstein, President, NCJW/Essex. “We rely on the generosity of many individuals, foundations and corporations to enable us to purchase brand new items for the children including pants, shirts, winter coats, gloves, socks, undergarments, hats and backpacks.” Greenstein explains that the children are referred by over 30 social service agencies and are escorted through the store with a personal shopper. While the children shopped, parents and guardians visited the onsite Gaelen Family Resource Center, which offered information from numerous community service agencies as well as health screenings and information.
The cost of school supplies is often overlooked as a major annual expense. Families that are living in poverty struggle with the rising cost demands of public education. In Essex County alone, 24% of households with children lived below the poverty level in 2015. NCJW/Essex believes that no child should start off the school year already behind, and has put together the B2SS for the past ten years to meet this need.