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United Way Kicks Off Annual School Supplies Drive

Updated: Nov 11, 2022

United Way Tools for School provides children in need with basic tools for success

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 return to school 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 toalleviate the budget strains on families struggling to afford the basics and who are now impacted by rising inflation.

“ALICE families and households in poverty were unable to make ends meet before the pandemic and continue to struggle as the cost-of-living skyrockets,” said Kiran Handa Gaudioso, CEO of United Way of Northern New Jersey. “The United Way Tools for School drive offers our community the opportunity to provide some much-needed financial relief to families while giving children the tools they need to succeed.”

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, United Way is collecting packed backpacks and the following school supplies: hand sanitizer, masks, 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, and scissors.

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 65 volunteers, hundreds of backpacks and supplies valued at $54,000 were collected and distributed to 40 local schools and 10 nonprofit agencies throughout the northern New Jersey region.

For more information about making donations, holding a United Way Tools for School drive, or volunteering with sorting supplies, visit, email Sean Hyland, or call 973.993.1160 x405.

*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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