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United Way Kicks Off Annual School Supplies Drive

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

Need for school supplies is great as families hardest hit by pandemic continue to struggle

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, which provides students with the basic tools needed to succeed in the classroom.

As students prepare to return to in-person learning in the fall, children will need basic school supplies. The drive typically seeks to benefit nearly 10,000 elementary and middle school children of ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) workers and those in poverty throughout the northern New Jersey region.

United Way Tools for School aims to alleviate the budget strains on families that were already struggling to afford the basics even before the pandemic hit.

“United Way Tools for School offers companies, groups, clubs, places of worship, families and individuals the opportunity to provide students in need with basic school supplies,” said Kiran Handa Gaudioso, CEO of United Way of Northern New Jersey. “Following a year of learning loss due to the pandemic, showing up with the tools needed to start the school year on the right track is more important than ever before.”

Through a partnership between United Way and, donors can make an online purchase of needed supplies that will be delivered automatically to United Way or a partner school in the five counties served: Morris, Somerset, Suburban Essex, Sussex and Warren. Donations can be made by visiting

Based on the needs expressed by local educators, this year United Way is collecting backpacks pre-filled with specific supplies. Donations of individual supplies and new, age-appropriate backpacks can also be made. In addition, school nurses have asked for personal care items such as toothbrushes, deodorant, 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 200 volunteers, supplies valued at $190,000 were collected and distributed to 43 elementary and middle schools and 16 nonprofit agencies throughout the northern New Jersey region.

For more information about specific supplies needed, making donations and holding a United Way Tools for School drive, visit, email or call 973.993.1160, x503.

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