Jersey City Back(Pack) to School Giveaway

August 1, 2011

With back-to-school sales already in full swing at retail stores across the nation, local leaders and the United Way of Hudson County are teaming up again to give free backpacks filled with school supplies to thousands of Jersey City students.

Promised donations for the Aug. 27 giveaway are nearing $100,000 and they could get close to the $120,000 mark before the drive is completed, the program’s organizers said.

Downtown Councilman Steve Fulop, who is leading the initiative with Freeholder Bill O’Dea and the United Way, said low- and moderate-income families with multiple children can find it difficult to find money for pencils, pens, notebooks, rulers and all the other items students need for school.

Plus, Fulop said, the giveaway dubbed Jersey City Back(pack) to School will get kids “motivated and excited for the first day of school.”

Last year’s initiative led to 7,500 students receiving free backpacks filled with school supplies. This year’s goal is to double that number, according to Fulop.

Though the eventual goal is to provide the backpacks to every Jersey City student, this year the giveaway is only for public and private school grammar students.

According to Fulop and O’Dea, various companies have donated all the supplies being given away.

Parents interested in registering for the Aug. 27 giveaway must sign up first at or by calling the United Way at (201) 434-2635.

Participants will be asked to register at one of four locations. Anyone interested in donating either cash each backpack with supplies costs $7 or supplies, can also sign up at the website.