Happiness is a backpack full of school supplies, a new outfit and new sneakers for the first day of school – especially for children who are living in shelters or whose parents struggle to make ends meet.
That is why HomeFront hopes to distribute 1,500 backpacks filled with school supplies and new outfits this month. The nonprofit group, which is headquartered in Lawrence Township, helps the homeless and the working poor.
Every child wants to start school with the same fresh, new things other children have, so what better way to start the new school year than with clothing and a stuffed backpack, HomeFront officials said.
“The back-to-school drive really tries to help our parents and guardians set their kids up for a good, fresh beginning to a new school year,” said Chris Marchetti, program director of HomeFront’s Joys Hopes and Dreams enrichment program.
“Certainly, we all want our HomeFront youngsters to be confident and ready, and step into the new year with their heads held high. It is key in setting them up for success on the road ahead,” Marchetti said.
HomeFront needs donors to fill backpacks with school supplies and new clothing for the children, officials said. Individuals, businesses and corporations are invited to become donors.
Interested donors may fill backpacks with school supplies or “adopt” one or more children and provide them with new clothing. It is easy to sponsor a child by signing up on HomeFront’s website at www.homefrontnj.org, or by email to email@example.com for more information.
Donors who choose to support a child with new clothing will be provided with the child’s age, sex, clothing size and shoe size, plus the school supplies that are needed. The shopping list for clothing may include a new shirt and pants, new underwear, socks, and shoes or sneakers, HomeFront officials said.
A donor 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.
HomeFront is requesting all items by Aug. 26, so it may distribute them to the students before the first day of school.
A financial contribution to HomeFront’s back-to-school drive is another way to make school a positive experience for a child. There is a special fund that allows children to participate more fully in the school experience.
The fund will cover the many small expenses that occur throughout the school year and that are out of reach for so many HomeFront parents – the costs for school trips, class pictures, special needs tutors, SAT fees and manuals, and clothing for hard-to-fit children, HomeFront officials said.