Nonprofit collecting donations to help kids ‘reach their full potential’

Donations are being accepted until Aug. 16 throughout Burlington, Gloucester and Camden counties, and online.

As school supply lists get released each year, the expenses can added up for families. For some, it can eat up their paychecks, forcing parents to make tough decisions.

A nonprofit is stepping up to make sure kids in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties are equipped with supplies and backpacks to start their school years off strong.

We work with families in need across the community, and become aware of the need during the summer months and the expense it costs to send children back to school,” said Jen Hammill, associate vice present of public relations at the Center for Family Service. “We’ve been able to rally people together to provide children with school supplies since 2004.”

The nonprofit is collecting monetary donations to purchase school supplies, and the following new items until Aug. 16 for Project Backpack:

  • Picture books for preschoolers
  • Backpacks and school supplies (crayons, pencils, glue sticks, etc.) for elementary-aged children
  • Sturdy backpacks, notebooks, pens, binders, folders, etc. for teens.

The goal is to collect enough supplies to furnish all children and teens in need, and in the CFFS’ housing programs, with school supplies.

This year, drop-off locations are available at:

  • Promenade at Sagmore’s concierge desk in Marlton
  • Cherry Hill Mall guest services center
  • Center for Family Services central office (1 Alpha Ave., Voorhees)
  • Boscov’s at Moorestown and Deptford malls and in the Voorhees Town Center
  • Old Navy in Deptford and Sewell (Washington Township)
  • Volunteer Center of South Jersey (1400 Tanyard Road, Sewell)
  • United Way of Gloucester County (454 Crown Point Road, Thorofare)

Hammill added the collection drive “supports and improves a child’s chance for success” by giving him or her the necessary items needed to start school without the child worrying if they have enough supplies or feeling embarrassed to request items from their teachers or peers.

It sends the message that we believe a child can and will succeed,” Hammill said. “It strengthens our community for them to do well in school.

Throughout the year, the nonprofit hosts a slew of programs to support children and teens in its programs with the Holiday Gift Project, which provides gifts to families in need.

We have a lot of different activities to support children in need,” Hammill said. “When our program staff identifies families in need, they share them with us and we try to get a corporate sponsor to assist us with this.”

For so many people to assist the nonprofit with the collection, Hammill said it speaks to the character of communities to help some of their youngest residents.

“We are always amazed and so grateful for the community to come together for the children in need,” she said. “It readies them to reach their full potential and we’re always grateful for them to help children in South Jersey.

To learn more about CFFS or to make a monetary donation to Project Backpack, visit www.CenterFFS.org.

We are asking people to join the cause, get involved, and be a part of the action,” she added.