Back to school may look a lot different this year, but the need for essential school supplies remains – all the more so now as families face the increased financial uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s especially true for the children in our Central Ward neighborhood, where more than 70 percent of students attending schools there live below the poverty line — in households where budgets are already tight enough when it comes to buying food and other essential items. School supplies sometimes just don’t make the cut.

The Newark Public School District has tentatively proposed opening schools on September 8 with some variation of in-person learning, virtual learning or a combination of both, depending upon how many students will be returning to school or staying home. Families have until August 14 to advise the city of their intentions. (Read more about the Newark plan here.)

That decision is already one fraught with uncertainty and worry for parents and teachers alike. One thing we do know for sure though is that students need supplies to support their learning, whether in the classroom or learning from home.

Providing a child with a backpack filled with supplies is one way we can both ease that financial burden on families and reassure children of some back-to-school normalcy.

Help Franciscan Charities make that happen for our neighborhood children!

We’ve set up a back-to-school virtual shopping store where you can make a donation for backpacks, school supplies and Covid-19 hygiene kits, which our volunteers will then pack and distribute using the same sanitary practices we employ when distributing our meals.

To make a donation, click HERE.

As always, we thank you for your continuing generosity in helping out our neighborhood families!