The start of the school year can mean added stress for parents with limited means as they struggle to buy school supplies in addition to covering their everyday household expenses.

Through the generosity of donors to the annual Project First Class school supplies collection, children of families served by several local agencies will get off to a good start in school next month.

Freeholder Patricia Walsh, liaison to the Somerset County Commission on the Status of Women, recently joined commission members in presenting hundreds of school supplies to the Food Bank Network of Somerset CountyFeeding Hands Inc. and CASA SHaW (Court Appointed Special Advocates of Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren).

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“To everyone who took the time and spent the money to provide all of these backpacks, notebooks, paper, pens, pencils and other school supplies – a big thank you!” she said.

The impressive array of school items was donated by Somerset County employees and residents as well as by the Finderne Rescue Squad, Bridgewater Township, the Bridgewater Senior Center, the Bridgewater Library and Nestle Health Science in Bridgewater.

Joining in the presentation to Food Bank Network Executive Director Marie Scannell, Tracey Heisler of CASA SHaW and the Rev. Gerald McLynn of Feeding Hands Inc. were Freeholder Walsh, Commission Chair Janice Fields, Project First Class Chair Smriti Agrawal, and Commissioners Beverly Briggs-Lawson, Vaseem Firdaus and Susan Sun.

Project First Class has been conducted by the commission annually since August 2005.

The SCCSW serves as an advisory board to the Board of Chosen Freeholders to address present and potential needs of women and to develop a greater public awareness of women’s issues.  For more information, email the commission at