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HomeFront conducting drive for school supplies, clothing

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Happiness is a backpack full of school supplies, a new outfit and new shoes for the first day of school, especially for children who are living in shelters or whose parents are struggling to make ends meet.

That’s why HomeFront hopes to distribute more than 2,000 backpacks filled with school supplies and new outfits this month, as it has done for more than 25 years. The nonprofit group, which helps the homeless and the working poor, has its headquarters at 1880 Princeton Avenue, Lawrence Township.

Every child wants to start the school year with the same fresh, new things other children have, so what better way to start the new school year than with new clothing and a stuffed backpack, HomeFront officials said.

But HomeFront needs generous donors to fill those backpacks and buy new clothing for the children. Individuals, businesses and corporations are invited to become contributors.

“We are asking for donations by Aug. 22 to ensure our kids get everything they need to go back to school, ready to succeed,” said Meghan Cubano, HomeFront’s director of community engagement.

“Our goal is to support more than 2,000 local homeless and at-risk children through the back to school drive,” Cubano said.

Donors may fill backpacks with school supplies or “adopt” one or more children and provide them with new clothing. It is easy to sign up to sponsor one or more children – it’s the donor’s choice – by calling HomeFront at 609-989-9417, ext. 137, or by email to homefront@homefrontnj.org.

Donors who choose to support a child with new clothing will be provided with the age, sex, clothing and shoe size of the child, along with the school supplies needed. The shopping list for clothing includes a new shirt and pants, plus new underwear, socks, and shoes or sneakers.

A donor also may choose to fill a backpack with school supplies, from the backpack itself to notebooks, a three-ring binder with paper, folders, pens, colored pencils, erasers, rulers, glue sticks, tape, crayons and safety scissors.

Donations of clothing and school supplies may be dropped off at HomeFront’s offices at 1880 Princeton Avenue, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon.

A cash contribution to HomeFront’s back to school drive is another way to make school a positive experience for a child. There are many small expenses that occur throughout the school year and that are out of reach for many HomeFront mothers, such as fees for school trips, class pictures, extra activities and equipment. The special fund allows children to participate more fully in the school experience.

For more information, call HomeFront at 609-989-9417, email homefront@homefrontnj.org, or visit www.homefrontnj.org.

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