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United Way of Northern New Jersey Kicks Off School Supplies Drive

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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 11,000 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.

“For ALICE families who are already living paycheck to paycheck, spending money on school supplies is not an option,” United Way Chief Operating Officer Kiran Handa Gaudioso said. “By uniting as a community, we can help ease the financial struggle of these hardworking families and give students the basics to start 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 of Morris, Suburban Essex, Somerset, Sussex and Warren counties. The following is a list of drop-off locations by county:

Morris County: On Friday, August 24, from 9 to 11:30 a.m., donations can be dropped off at the United Way office, 222 Ridgedale Avenue, in Cedar Knolls.

Somerset County: On Monday, August 20, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., donations can be dropped off at United Reformed Church, 100 West Main St., in Somerville.

*Suburban Essex County: on Friday, August 31 from 9:30 to 11 a.m., donations can be dropped off at the United Way office, 60 South Fullerton Ave., in Montclair.

Sussex County: On Thursday, August 30, from 9 to 11 a.m., donations can be dropped off at the United Way office, 2 Spring Street, in Newton.

Warren County: On Thursday, August 16, from 9 a.m. to noon, donations can be dropped off at Taylor Street School, 16/24 Taylor St., 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 250 volunteers, supplies valued at $86,000 were collected and distributed to 63 elementary and middle schools and 16 nonprofit agencies throughout the northern New Jersey region.

For more information about making donations, holding a United Way Tools for School drive, or to volunteer with sorting supplies, visit www.UnitedWayNNJ.org/ToolsforSchool, email Lisa.Galonardo@UnitedWayNNJ.org or call 973.993.1160, x503.

*Suburban Essex County towns served by United Way of Northern New Jersey include the Caldwells, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Glen Ridge, Livingston, Millburn-Short Hills, Montclair, Roseland, and Verona.

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