CAMDEN, NJ — So far, 82 donors have come forward to help over 30 Camden teachers with materials to make the 2020-21 school year a success amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund (NJPRF), a non-profit dedicated to helping anyone facing financial hardship in the state brought on by the coronavirus, says it will provide $250,000 in matching grants to the teacher projects - located in underprivileged districts - through DonorsChoose. 

The online hub allows teachers like Ms. Donita Nero from Camden’s Woodrow Wilson High School to request a $1,600 Dell Laptop to help her teach 80 students more easily through Zoom breakout lessons and Google Meets. 

“As Covid-19 restrictions closed our classrooms, I would be able to use these devices to have some sort of normal ‘face-to-face interactions’,” said Ms. Nero.

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As of this report, teachers in Camden still need $9,280. Learn about the projects and how you can help here. In addition to purchasing new technology, educators and staff are requesting help with white boards, backpacks, markers, a 3-D art kit, cameras, new books and more.  

"Teachers know best what their students need to continue learning during this unprecedented time”, said First Lady Tammy Murphy, the founding chair of the NJPRF.  “We are thrilled to help support teachers at schools with 90 percent or more students receiving free or reduced lunch thus enabling our most vulnerable students to have access to the best educational materials possible.”

Over half of the state’s 607 school districts have started with a hybrid format, with as many as 172 districts (including Camden public schools) fully remote to start the year.

“The diversity of the projects being funded really illustrates the upside of working with DonorsChoose to support our teachers, rather than trying to find a one-size-fits-all solution for classrooms across the state,” said Laura Overdeck, the founder and president of Bedtime Math and a member of the NJPRF board.

TAPinto is a media sponsor of the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund.

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