RISE backpack drive will prepare kids for school

A backpack full of new school supplies seems like a small thing, but to a child, it spells a fresh start for the new school year.

That’s why RISE has launched its annual “RISE Has Your Backpack” school supplies drive – for donors to contribute school supplies and for volunteers to help fill the backpacks.

RISE, a Hightstown-based nonprofit group, filled 575 backpacks last year. Its goal now is to fill 600 backpacks with pencils, pens, erasers, notebooks, rulers, water bottles and insulated lunch bags.

Every backpack given to a child through the “RISE Has Your Backpack” drive is filled with new school supplies so the children can look and feel ready for the new school year, RISE officials said.

“These backpacks and school supplies enable students to confidently walk into the classroom, knowing that their basic needs have been met,” said Leslie Koppel, RISE’s executive director.

“When our children succeed, the entire community succeeds,” Koppel said. RISE is grateful for the many supporters who contribute to the annual backpack drive, she said.

RISE, which operates a summer camp and a summer enrichment program for children, provides each participant with a backpack, but the program is open to any child who can show a report card from the East Windsor Regional, Cranbury, Millstone, Monroe or Roosevelt public school district.

School supplies that are especially needed are backpacks, erasers, pencil boxes, pencil sharpeners, safety scissors, calculators, college-ruled paper, USB flash drives, three-ring binders, highlighters, crayons, glue sticks, tape and rulers.

The deadline for dropping off the school supplies is Aug. 23. The drop-off locations are the RISE office and its Greater Goods thrift store, both in Hightstown Borough.

The supplies can be dropped off at the RISE office at 116 N. Main St. Monday through Thursday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. On Friday, they can be dropped off between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Supplies can be delivered to the Greater Goods thrift store at 114 Rogers Ave. Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m, and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, visit www.njrise.org.