Nonprofit group doling out school backpacks, supplies to Passaic, Paterson students

August 24, 2012

A nonprofit education group is giving away 9,500 backpacks stuffed with school supplies to children inPassaic City and Paterson over the next two weeks.

Better Education for Kids, based in New Brunswick, is holding the giveaways in Passaic City on Monday and in Paterson on Sep. 4.

Each child recipient is allowed one backpack filled with six pencils, two notebooks and folders, and one glue stick, pencil sharpener and eraser.

“We target areas where there are underprivileged kids [and] try to reach out to as many communities as we can,” said Gerard Green, outreach coordinator with Better Education for Kids. “Our philosophy here is for every child to be equipped with the proper school supplies that are needed so they have a good start to the school year.”

The events are part of the organization’s second statewide drive in which it intends to distribute 25,000 backpacks, also reaching Plainfield, Newark and Perth Amboy. Last year, the year-old group, an arm of the education reform advocacy group Better Education Institute, gave away 40,000 backpacks to children in Jersey City, Asbury Park, Elizabeth, Camden and Perth Amboy.

In Passaic City, organizers will hand out 1,500 backpacks from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday at each of three sites: City Council Chambers, 330 Passaic St.; Passaic Senior Center, 330 Passaic St.; and Vreeland Village Community, 220 6th St.

Although not required, parents can pre-register their children for a backpack at

Partners with the Passaic event include Big Brothers, Big Sisters of New Jersey and the Passaic Housing Authority.

Locations have not yet been finalized in Paterson, but Green said the group intends to give away 5,000 backpacks from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 4.

In Plainfield, volunteers will provide 2,000 backpacks to children from 5 to 7 p.m. at Shiloh Baptist Church, 515 W. 4th St.

Better Education for Kids purchased all of the items for the giveaways, Green said.

“No matter what zip code any child is from, they should receive equal opportunity of having a great teacher,” he said. “With these events, they can have equal opportunity to receive supplies as well.”