The National Council of Jewish Women’s Peninsula and South Shore sections will hold their second Back 2 School Store event on July 27. Above, Neil Sklar helped Danilo Bustilo check off the school supplies he needed with his mother, Rumula Cuba, during last year’s shopping spree.
Empowering children in kindergarten through fifth grade to understand how to make choices, boost their self-esteem and attend school with a positive attitude is the goal of the National Council of Jewish Women and its Peninsula and South Shore sections as they prepare for their second annual Back 2 School Store event on July 27.
A wide array of clothing, including winter coats, sneakers, backpacks, school supplies and toiletries, is available for students to choose from. To help instill self-confidence in the children, their parents do not shop with them; instead, they are assisted by an adult volunteer personal shopper. They check off their school supply list and choose what they need and want. And the NCJW offers a Family Resource Center for their parents, where free health screenings are conducted and information on nutrition and community and social services is available.
Approximately 400 children were pre-selected by social service agencies, churches, synagogues and community service organizations. The event is closed to the public, but the NCJW is seeking donations to purchase the needed items. Children still affected by Hurricane Sandy have also been included.
The organization’s Peninsula and South Shore sections saw the success that the Essex County Section, based in Livingston, N.J., had with its own Back 2 School Store and decided to replicate it in the aftermath of Sandy. “We saw a need in the community to have better access to clothing and supplies,” said NCJW member Hope Coleman, the event’s chairwoman. “Linda Tolkin, our executive director said, ‘We’ve got to do this.’ So we’re doing it, and after Hurricane Sandy we saw more of a need.”
Coleman conducted research, gathered other NCJW members and contacted community agencies. Then the women visited New Jersey. “We were delighted,” said Essex County Section President Karen Cherins. “They spent a weekend at the store. It’s a wonderful event to better the lives of women, children and families.”