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Students ‘Shop’ For School Supplies At Essex County Event

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WEST ORANGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – With about a month until school starts, some students in Essex County are already getting set for class with an all-expenses-paid shopping spree, CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported.

Four-year-old Jaylin Long was skipping through the aisles, so excited to be picking out new sneakers and a t-shirt for his first day of kindergarten next month.

“The owl has the soccer ball and the football and I’m about to play football,” Long said.

In total, 750 students from across the county had their pick of coats, toiletries and school supplies Sunday for their back-to-school shopping spree.

“I think they’re nice for just giving it to us. Probably when I go back to school, some kids are going to ask me where I got it from,” fifth grader Rasheed Saba said.

The back-to-school store is actually the B’nai Shalom Synagogue in West Orange, N.J., complete with personal shoppers who are all volunteers organized by the National Council of Jewish Women’s Essex chapter.

“It is fantastic,” Event Chair Deborah Schatz said. “It’s our favorite day of the year.”

The event uses donations to buy the items for disadvantaged children.

“We’ve had children just melt our hearts,” Schatz said. “They just love the little things and they love choosing it themselves.”

As CBS 2 reported, over the course of the year, the volunteers collect more than $125,000 worth of supplies spread out over 4,000 square feet for the students to shop in.

“It saved me a lot,” Tamika Long, Jaylin’s mother, said.

In the six years since the program started, more than 3,000 students have been able to shop as part of the event, CBS 2 reported.

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