PITTSBURGH - From head to toe, the National Council of Jewish Women in Pittsburgh is helping children get ready for school for free.
“I think it's really important for these kids to be able to start the school year confident, feeling excited, feeling prepared,” NCJW Executive Director Andrea Glickman said.
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She and a village of volunteers started planning their first ever “Back 2 School Store” last fall, raising money for and getting local businesses and organizations to donate brand new clothes.
“The need in our community here is huge,” Jenny Jones, the community service chairwoman, said.
The NCJW worked with three service agencies to get more than 200 students in kindergarten through fifth grade dressed for success.
Taylor Kearney will be a first-grader at Woodland Hills and her mother told Channel 11 the store will help tremendously.
“The book bag, the school supplies, the coat, the hats, gloves - all the necessities she will need when she will be outside waiting for the school bus,” Alicia Kearney said.
The store was open for two days this week.
Each child had a personal shopper, or a volunteer, escorting them from room-to-room to pick out a coat, back to school outfit, shoes, a book bag, books and even dental care.
They filled their bags and then showed their new gear to mom and dad.
Volunteers said that it’s that moment that makes all the planning worthwhile.
“To see the kids, the smiles on their faces, it's really amazing,” Jones said.
Glickman echoed those sentiments.
“It's such a heartwarming experience to see these kids come in here,” she said. “Seeing them as they walk out and they were just smiles ear-to-ear.”
The NCJW has already started planning next year’s “Back 2 School Store,” and they hope to help even more families.
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