National Council of Jewish Women's Back to School Store event

The Back to School! Store is not just one day anymore!

NCJW St. Louis Section is proud to announce that the Back to School! Store expanded in 2008 from a one day program serving 1000 children to a year round program serving over 5000 kids through Kids Community Closets in schools and the store.

NCJW works closely with area agencies and schools to identify children in need. During the Back to School! Store, each child is assigned an adult volunteer to help them shop for brand new clothing and supplies.  In addition, community organizations offering services and information about child safety, nutrition, vision screening and health issues are part of the on-site family resource center for parents and guardians. Year round, our Kids Community Closets provide new clothing on an as needed basis to elementary school kids at twenty two (22) local public schools and the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry.

The 15th annual Back to School! Store will be held on Sunday, July 24, 2016 and will serve 1300 children.

Project Goals:

The Back to School! Store is designed to get kids to school on the first day and aid children in staying in school all year long.  We do this by creating positive self-esteem and enthusiasm about the upcoming school year and learning.

As an outgrowth of NCJW’s successful Back to School! Store, the Kids Community Closets (KCC) provides under served elementary school children with emergency clothing.  If these students have the clothing they need, they are more likely to attend school, participate, and focus on learning.

Project History:

The concept of the one day store began in 1993 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, sponsored by the Service League of Green Bay.  In August 2001, NCJW brought the Back to School! Store to St. Louis, inaugurating this annual event by providing 200 children in the St. Louis area with new clothing, shoes, and school supplies, helping them start the school year off with enthusiasm and positive self-esteem.  In its first ten years, the Back to School! Store has assisted over 6000 elementary school children from low-income families in the St. Louis area.

Invitations to participate are sent to qualifying children whose needs are not being met by existing services.  To ensure that we have everything we need for the invited children, the Back to School! Store is an invitation-only event. Over 45 social service agencies, churches and community service organizations help select the qualifying children.

The first two Kids Community Closets were installed in 2008.  This project was created to allow NCJW to serve hundreds of additional children throughout the school year.  KCC provides new clothing, uniforms, underwear, and outerwear to children in need at their schools.  Students who are identified by teachers, administrators, or social workers to be in need of specific clothing on any given day are given this item in a discreet manner.  In addition, parents and guardians receive a notification card indicating the item was provided by the Kids Community Closet. Today, we have opened 15 closets throughout St. Louis.

In 2016, we will serve 1300 children in the one day store and over 5000 throughout the year through Kids Community Closets.

Funding for the Project:

The project is funded through a combination of grants, in-kind donations and our sponsor a child campaign

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