Danielsen Backpack Drive Yields Thousands of School Supplies for Local Students

Lawmaker’s Third Annual Back-to-School Collection Benefits Children in 17th Legislative District

A school supply collection effort Assemblyman Joseph Danielsen launched in July yielded thousands of school supplies, including book bags, notebooks and other items students need to succeed during the school year.

“Education is the key to success, and to get the best education possible, students need school supplies,” said Danielsen (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “All those who donated to this effort made an investment in our children, which is an investment in the future of our community. I’m grateful to every individual and organization that put money, time and energy into making sure students could start the school year equipped to do their best.”

Danielsen’s office collected various school supplies – including backpacks, notebooks, folders, pens, pencils, markers, crayons, scissors and other items – throughout July and August and distributed the materials during August and September to prepare area students for the school year ahead. The school supply drive drew in approximately 1,000 backpacks, 800 of which were filled with supplies.

“For parents struggling to make ends meet, back-to-school season can mean having to choose between putting food on the table and buying everything their children will need in September. Ultimately, that often means too many teachers selflessly use their own money to help students who lack basic supplies, putting an undue burden on some of our most dedicated public servants,” said Danielsen. “This school supply drive was about meeting our collective responsibility to ensure that no child misses out on learning simply because he or she doesn’t have a pen or a notebook to do the work and taking pressure off the teachers who often bridge these gaps within our community.”

In addition to individual contributors, numerous local groups gave to the school supply drive. Among the participants were: the American Institute of Medical Sciences & Education, Centerpeace New Jersey, the Franklin Township JFK Club, Franklin Township PBA Local 154, Girl Scouts Service Unit 67, the Middlesex County Democratic Organization, the Middlesex County Federation of Democratic Women, the Middlesex County Young Democrats, the Milltown Democrats, New Brunswick United Methodist Church, Oak Crest Day Camp, the Piscataway Elks Lodge, Six Mile Run Reformed Church, SHI International, Somerset Presbyterian Church, St. John the Evangelist Church, URA-AFT Local 1766 and Wells Fargo Advisors of Warren Township.

The following groups partnered with Danielsen’s office in distributing backpacks: the City of New Brunswick, the Franklin Township Public School District, the Piscataway Public School District, Unity Square in New Brunswick and the Zakee Bowser Enrichment Foundation, in cooperation with the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens. The Central Jersey administrative office of Enterprise Rent-A-Car was instrumental in coordinating transportation for hundreds of bags, and regional and branch managers assisted with delivery and distribution staffing, Danielsen noted.

Danielsen’s office also gave backpacks along with hundreds of books to Elijah’s Promise and Women Aware. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the assemblyman coordinated with Franklin Township Councilwoman Shanel Robinson to send a portion of the items collected to storm victims in Houston.