NEWARK, NJ — The International WeLoveU Foundation donated backpacks and school supply kits to 200 students at Technology High School in Newark prior to the start of the school year. In attendance were state Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz, Newark Superintendent of Schools Roger León and North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos. The donation is part of WeLoveU’s education program, Closing the Homework Gap: Packs on Backs & Tools for Schools, that has provided more than 3,300 students in nine schools across the country with new backpacks and school supplies. The goal is to alleviate the financial burden families in under-resourced communities face during back-to-school shopping.
Noemi Ballester, the parent liaison and student counsel provider for Technology High School, expressed gratitude for the partnership between WeLoveU and Technology High School.
“We were able to get together and show the families that we are here to support them in everything and anything they need, even outside of the classroom,” she said.
Research shows back-to-school supply spending has increased 22 percent since 2019, due in part to inflation. The cost of wood pulp used to make paper has also increased by 50 percent over the last year. On top of these factors, schools are expanding their school supply lists as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Additional items are requested, such as laptops, headphones, hand sanitizer, tissues and personal protective equipment.
“It’s not really about just the backpack — it’s about supporting families. And being able to provide something for families to get the school year started off on the right foot is something that’s extremely important,” Technology Principal Edwin Reyez said. “We’re supporting our families, so this program means a whole lot not only to me but to our school.”
Photos Courtesy of Kammie Carter