Cinnaminson mom Christine Ireland has four kids all under the age of 8. With two of them now in school, Ireland can get some relief during the day, and also, get some help with school supplies.
The Jane B. Weilenbeck Fund, which helps Cinnaminson families in need throughout the year, is giving away backpacks and school supplies to almost 60 families this fall.
“It really does help a lot,” Ireland said.
Ireland’s six- and seven-year-old got to pick out their own backpacks at the township administrative offices this week.
“They liked picking their bookbags out,” Ireland said. “They were excited about it. I was really surprised how much they really do get for you. We’re struggling to get school clothes, sneakers, then you have to buy all these supplies for two kids. It really helps.”
The backpacks and supplies are eligible for families who qualify and are part of the federal free and reduced lunch program.
Members of the fund put together a list of school supplies the students will need for school. Backpacks, as well as notebooks, pens, pencils, binders, glue sticks, file folders and much more are bought for the children who need it.
This year, the kids can pick out their own backpacks which range from solid colors, to fun designs, to Buzz Lightyear or Iron Man for the younger students.
“School supplies are so expensive, especially when there is more than one child,” said Jean Becker, administrative assistant to the superintendent. Becker is heading up this year’s program.
Yogita Fratto is the fund’s president and did all the ordering of supplies from lists each building supplies. The shopping was done at Five Below, , Staples and Boscov’s this year.
“It’s a small thing, but it makes a big difference,” said Cinnaminson mom Marla Packer-Perdunn.
She has three students to buy for—two seniors in high school and a third-grader who is starting at this year.
“It’s a big help because I don’t get any other support,” she said. “Last year, we were helped with Thanksgiving dinner.”
The Jane B. Weilenbeck Fund also helps families in need during Thanksgiving and Christmas time, .
“It’s a whole district-wide and community effort,” Becker said. “We get support from the rotary, churches, other organizations, people call us to adopt families at the holidays.”
Families and students are picking up supplies at the this week and next before school starts Wednesday, Sept. 7.