Local business owners volunteer at event for needy children

Newton. Four local rotary chapters in Branchville, Newton, Vernon, and Wallkill Valley distributed backpacks stuffed with school supplies, and assisted families during the event

Newton /
| 26 Aug 2021 | 12:41

Area business owners recently stepped up to give a boost to local students by volunteering at Project Self-Sufficiency’s annual Back to School Fair.

Members from four local Rotary chapters, Branchville, Newton, Vernon, and Wallkill Valley distributed backpacks stuffed with school supplies, and assisted families during the event. Customarily a one-day affair, Project Self-Sufficiency’s Back to School Fair had to be expanded to four separate events to allow for social distancing among patrons, staff, and volunteers.

“This year it is more important than ever to help parents and children to prepare for the new school year, and we couldn’t pull off an event of this magnitude without the extraordinary efforts of our dedicated staff, Board, and volunteers,” noted Project Self-Sufficiency Executive Director Deborah Berry-Toon.

The annual Back to School Fair aims to arm parents with the latest information about school and bus safety, literacy, special needs, childhood development, and healthcare resources. A wide array of social service and healthcare organizations were on hand to discuss areas of concern with parents. Volunteers and staff offered games, crafts, and special activities for kids. Music for the event was provided by Exit 12 duo Craig Evans and Brian Kathenes.

This was the first year that the local Rotaries supplied volunteers for the event.

“Rotary’s motto is service above self, and the organization is particularly supportive of education,” explained Cindy Allen, Assistant Governor for the Sussex County Rotary District #7475 which encompasses the Branchville, Newton, Vernon, and Wallkill Valley Rotaries. “We’re looking forward to supporting Project Self-Sufficiency with more projects and developing a wonderful working relationship for the betterment of the community.”

The Back to School Fair is sponsored by the Sussex County Family Success Center and Project Sussex Kids, the Sussex County Council for Young Children, both of which are administered by Project Self-Sufficiency.

Participating healthcare and social services agencies included Atlantic Health System; Caring Partners of Morris & Sussex; Center for Prevention & Counseling; DASI; Family Partners of Morris & Sussex Counties; Ginnie’s House; Project Self-Sufficiency; Safe Kids Northern New Jersey; SCARC; Shop Rite; Sussex County Special Child Health Services; Sussex County Division of Social Services; Sussex County Library; Sussex County YMCA; Youth Advocate Programs, Inc.; Zufall Health Services; and others.