SUMMIT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey teenager who spent much of his life in foster care is now 18, on his own and off to college, and a generous community came together to help him out.
Josh Banks just graduated from Summit High School and is starting his freshman year at Rutgers University. The problem — he didn’t have any supplies to take with him.
He bounced around foster homes and now at 18, he’s on his own.
“He was at my house, I guess, last Friday, and I heard him mention he was moving into the dorm. I said, ‘Do you have everything you need for the dorm?’ and he looked at me like a deer in headlights,” Kim Kennedy told CBS2’s Meg Baker.
Kennedy’s son, Anthony, is best friends with Banks.
“If he ever needs anything, like, he can come and ask me or my mom,” he said.
Kim Kennedy took to Facebook, asking locals for any extra items they might have to donate, like personal care products.
She says the Summit community reacted immediately.
“It was overwhelming,” she said. “He got everything you could possibly imagine for a dorm room – sheets, comforters, pillows, [mattress] toppers, all kinds of school supplies.”
He got a first-aid kit with instructions, laundry detergent, snacks and even a brand new computer. With the supplies were encouraging notes, letting Banks know he has a whole town behind him.
“When everyone started coming to the door and, like, just leaving stuff every day, every hour, it really surprised me how much people could care about someone they don’t even know,” Anthony Kennedy said.
“People are still saying, whatever he needs going forward, just let me know and we’ll send it to him,” Kim Kennedy said.
In a thank-you video, Banks says, “I just want to thank everyone for generosity … This means everything to me.”
Banks is all moved into his dorm room and ready to start his engineering degree. During school breaks, the Kennedys say their door is always open.
Because the donations were so overwhelming, Banks donated extra items to the PEP Program, a local organization that helps low-income families.