A Back-to-School Readiness Fair held on Aug. 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. supplied students with backpacks, school supplies, and food donations.
Thomas Edison State University hosted the fair to help prepare the community for the new school year.
“We want to make sure that everybody knows that Thomas Edison University is here and we’re part of this community. That we believe in the children in Trenton, and we want to make sure that they, you know, rise up, graduate high school, and then at some point can attend college,” said Marcela Ospina Maziarz, MPA Vice President for Community affairs.
TSEU gave out 290 backpacks stuffed with grade-appropriate supplies to Trenton children and 100 bags of groceries for local families.
TESU partnered with multiple community members like Henry J. Austin, and Zufall Health staff provided vaccinations, physicals, dental screenings, and treatment. Walmart provided eyeglass cleanings and adjustments, while United Way of Mercer County provided information on FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) assistance, tax preparation. The Shiloh Baptist Church brought volunteers to help with the fair.
“I believe that providing supplies and encouraging kids going back to school is something every community organization should do. No student in Trenton should be without supplies starting school. No student in America should be without supplies starting school,” said Darrell Armstrong, Pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church and founder and executive director of the Shiloh Community Development cooperation. “If a backpack is all we can give them, that’s very symbolic of the fact that we’re investing in their education.”
Participating community partners also included the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services; New Jersey Department of Children and Families; Trenton Health Team; AIR Dogs Paws for Minds Therapy Dogs; and Success Unisex Salon who provided free haircuts for children.