4th Annual 'Back to School Store' for Underprivileged Kids Held in West Orange
Monday, August 6, 2012 • 6:02pm
WEST ORANGE, NJ - The National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Chapter, held their Fourth Annual 'Back to School Store' for underprivileged Essex County youngsters at B'Nai Shalom in West Orange on Sunday. Approximately 500 boys and girls between the ages of 5-10 received personal care items, new sneakers, coat, hat, gloves, scarves, socks, underwear, school supplies, backpacks and a complete new outfit for their first day of school. The children were recommended by over 36 local Essex County Agencies that participate in the program.
According to Cathy Silverman, Executive Director of NCJW-Essex County, $ 75,000 was raised to purchase all-new items for the children. B'nai Shalom was transformed into a department store with different shopping areas. Each child was assigned their own personal shopper that helped them select their items during an appointment that took about one hour. There was a shoe department, clothing department, personal care department, coat department, school supplies department and 24 dressing rooms for the children to try on their items before making selections. 300 volunteers manned the areas, wearing color-coded aprons designating the area in which they were volunteering. Staples was also on hand to provide each child with a "Kits for Kidz" school supply kit, while NCJW provided the school supplies that were not included in the kit. Several training sessions were provided for volunteers, who worked in shifts.
As parents, guardians and other family members waited for their children, they were able to receive a variety of free health screenings provided by the Gaelen Family Resource Center, UMDNJ, OSHA, and more. Eye exams, blood pressure screenings, personal care kits, dental information, and community resources were available.
As evidenced by the excitement on the faces of the children, the event was a rousing success. Items not distributed will be stored for use next year.
The National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County division, has over 3,200 members and strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children and families and safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.
For more information, please visit www.ncjwessex.org.