Thomas Edison State University held its second annual Back-to-School Readiness Fair on Friday, Aug. 4, at George A. Pruitt Hall.

The afternoon event included the distribution of 365 new backpacks and grade-appropriate school supplies that will help equip Trenton-area school children for the upcoming academic year.

“We value our role in providing Trenton area school children with some of the important tools they will need to embark on the school year,” said Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, president. “As a long-time member and stakeholder in the community, we are inextricably linked to the continuum of preschool to graduate-level education and workforce development opportunities in the city. We not only view this role through the lens of a post-secondary education provider, but also as a partner, custodian and collaborator in the success of local families.”

The Back-to-School Readiness Fair offered free resources and information to the community, such as COVID-19 vaccinations, guidance on maintaining a lead-free home environment, maternal and mental health, wellness services, free health insurance eligibility review and available after-school programs. Attendees also received assistance with FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), tax preparation and other services.

“Serving as an anchor institution in the Capital City allows us to provide resources to local families, connect them to a suite of community service resources and provide a channel to the brightest futures possible,” added Hancock. “By leveraging our evolving educational model, we spur affordability and access to higher education in our city and we all rise together.“

Participating organizations included Isles, Inc.; Central Jersey Family Health Consortium; New Jersey Department of Health who provided the vaccines; NJ FamilyCare; Trenton Health Team; United Way of Greater Mercer County; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mercer County; Boys and Girls Club of Mercer County; Hyacinth; HomeFront NJ; Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund; Mercer Street Friends who provided pre-filled lunch boxes; and the New Jersey State Library.

For more information on this and upcoming events, please email

TESU Office of Admissions Counselor Mehreen Bhatti helps to distribute backpacks filled with grade-appropriate supplies to Trenton-area residents

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