Back to School in Style
NCJW Sections in St. Louis, MO; Essex County, NJ; and Minneapolis, MN run Back 2 School Stores to provide local, economically disadvantaged children with new clothing, school supplies, and personal care items — all free of charge.
This year, NCJW Back 2 School Stores have helped 15,000 children prepare for the upcoming school year.
On Sunday, July 24, the St. Louis Section held its tenth annual Back 2 School Store at the Central Reform Congregation. One thousand children each received a complete outfit, tennis shoes, socks, winter coat, underwear, hat, gloves, backpack, school supplies, personal care items, and a book. The children also received free eye screenings, dental hygiene information, plus a family resource room connected parents with local community organizations to help address their needs.
“It makes me excited for school.” — Eight-year-old shopper
“I don’t know what we would have done this year without coming to the store. This is a blessing, and I’m brought to tears.” — Mother of two students shopping at the store
Read more about the St. Louis Section Back 2 School Store in this article published in the St. Louis Jewish Light.
During its third annual event, held on Sunday, July 31, Essex County Section’s Back 2 School Store enabled 500 children to “shop” for brand-new clothing, sneakers, and school supplies in a one-day-only “store” set up just for them in 4,000 square feet of space provided by B’nai Shalom in West Orange. With the assistance of NCJW volunteer “personal shoppers,” each child was escorted throughout the department-store-like space to select pants, shirts, sneakers, undergarments, a winter jacket, and a backpack. Each child also received school supplies — including binders, notebooks, pencils, a calculator, and a dictionary — as well as a small supply of personal care items.
“It’s great because a kid doesn’t get this stuff, and they never get it for free. My favorite things were this great new book bag and notebooks.” — Fourth-grade shopper
“I have four kids. This has helped me a lot. I could barely afford most of this. We’ve been coming for three years and the kids like coming here.” — Mother of shoppers
Stuff for School is a community service project originally developed in partnership with 3M to help at-risk children in the Minneapolis Public Schools start school prepared to learn. The program provides students with a complete package of school supplies on the first day of each new school year. Stuff for School is unique in that the supplies are distributed directly to the school so as not to single out the kids in need.
In 2011, the Stuff for School program will provide school supplies to 13,500 children in 27 Minneapolis public schools. Read more about the program in this letter published in the Star Tribune.