2015 NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store Sunday August 2, 2015
About the Back 2 School Store
The annual NCJW/Essex Back 2 School Store enables economically disadvantaged 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/Essex volunteer personal shoppers, each child is escorted throughout the department-store-like space to select pants, shirts, sneakers, undergarments, a winter jacket, and a backpack in their favorite colors and styles. Each child also receives school supplies – including binders, notebooks, pencils, a calculator, and a dictionary – as well as a small supply of personal care items. All of the merchandise is brand new, purchased or donated by NCJW/Essex and its sponsoring partners.
While the children "shop" inside the "store," parents browse the Gaelen Family Resource Center, where, they pick up health and social service information from more than 20 different exhibitors. Outside, the parents make good use of the UMDNJ mobile medical van to get screenings for blood pressure allergies, asthma, cholesterol, and glucose.
Heard About the Back 2 School Store and Gaelen Family Resource Center
I've never experienced such a project. Tzedaka is about equality, justice and dignity, and this project got it right.
The event was explained to me, and I thought I had an idea of what the day would be like, but you just can't even imagine until you see it. I feel like I made more of an impact in these four hours than in hundreds of hours of other volunteering in the past. I would definitely do it again and I already told a half dozen people, including my husband, who will join me.
Coming here today renews my faith in the generosity and goodness of people, especially right now.
This has helped me a lot. I could barely afford most of this.
While the Back 2 School Store was answering the children's needs, the Family Resource Center was answering the parents' needs.
I saw a lot of people using the facilities in a positive way –it was awesome.
My best thing is these sneakers! I had a great man [personal shopper] and very funny. We checked off stuff I need. I can do it every year.
Raising money is one thing. What you've done, getting people to commit their time, is another. Seeing all these volunteers with red, blue and green aprons is a symbol. To get it done to this critical mass in five short years is amazing. When you see this it makes you want to work harder. The more you participate, the more the more you want to see the impact on somebody's life.
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.
Considering the number of people, it's amazingly organized. It's such a happy thing!
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.
I feel great and happy.
View our 2014 Back 2 School Store:
“You can’t put a price on self-esteem”... Brooke Lefferts