Operation South Jersey, CASA of CGS Partner for Back-to-School Drive

By: Follow South Jersey Staff

BRIDGETON, N.J. — Local charities Operation South Jersey and Court Appointed Special Advocates of Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties (CASA of CGS) have partnered to provide school supplies to foster youth and children in need throughout South Jersey. The fundraiser spans the course of the summer, and they encourage community involvement to help reach their goal of providing every South Jersey child and family in need with supplies to foster a successful school year come September. 

Their annual campaign has been a staple of our community since 2017, when the two organizations launched their first Back-to-School Drive together. Since then, they have provided our local communities with more than 1,300 backpacks filled with books and various school supplies to support the education of our children. 

“We want to make sure we are supporting our youth all year long with projects that benefit their unique needs,” Hillary Nichols, founder of Operation South Jersey, said. “Our Back-to-School Drive is a great way to get our community involved in supporting each other and ensuring our local youth have all the tools they need to succeed, especially after such a rough year.”

The COVID-19 pandemic left an irrefutable mark on our education system that continues to affect our children, our teachers, and our families. Navigating the drastic changes has been difficult across the board, but coming together in unity and support for each other through service has helped push our communities through. Operation South Jersey and CASA of CGS have been consistent sources of support and advocacy for children and families in South Jersey, and their Back-to-School Drive provides an added layer of relief during these unprecedented times.

“Most of our kids are really looking forward to being in person again with their friends and teachers, especially after missing so much normality this past year,” CASA of CGS program director Jennifer Henderson said. “This drive is a great way to help a child feel confident and prepared to tackle a new school year. It will really give them some hope for new beginnings.”

If you are interested in donating to support local youth, you can sponsor a child by donating on CASA’s website. They are also accepting donations via their Amazon Wish List, which sends the supplies directly to their office at Hopeloft on 40 East Commerce Street in Bridgeton. The Amazon Wish List can also be used as a reference if you prefer shopping in-person; if you choose this option, please drop off your donations to the foyer of the Hopeloft building at 40 East Commerce Street in Bridgeton. Reach out to Hillary Nichols at hillary@hopeloft.com with any questions.

To stay up-to-date on Operation South Jersey’s projects and volunteer opportunities, follow them on Instagram and Facebook, and visit their website at https://www.operationsouthjersey.com/ 

To stay up-to-date on CASA of CGS’s projects and volunteer opportunities, follow them on Instagram and Facebook, and visit their website at www.wespeakupforchildren.org 

This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.