NEWARK, NJ - Kars4Kids will give nearly 1,000 backpacks to Newark students ahead of the back-to-school season. 

The car donation organization will distribute the backpacks during National Night Out, an annual fun-day meant to promote police-community partnerships, boost neighborhood spirit, and encourage participation in local anti-crime programs. 

With help from United Parks As One, Newark Arts Education Roundtable, BRICK Education Network, and Schools That Can, Kars4Kids expects to reach around 250 children at each National Night Out location. Activities will take place simultaneously at different neighborhood parks.

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Backpacks will be distributed on Tuesday, Aug. 6 from 4 to 8 p.m. at all three locations: 

  • Nat Turner Park (by Central High School)
  • Jessie Allen Park (by Avon Avenue Boys and Girls Club) 
  • Mildred Helms Park (behind old Clinton Avenue School)

“Being prepared with essential school supplies is a critical prerequisite to a successful school year,” says Wendy Kirwan, director of communications at Kars4Kids. “Children who are lacking the basics are at a disadvantage right from the first day of school.” 

For a family struggling to afford the necessities, a free new backpack can provide some financial relief and reduce shame for not being able to send their students to school feeling prepared. 

According to a National Retail Federation survey, families with elementary, middle, and high school children are expected to spend around $700 per household to prepare students for the new school year. 

More money for back-to-school shopping is spent on clothes and shoes while the rest will be spent on electronics and supplies. Yet, seeing the smiles when children receive their new backpacks is priceless, says Kirwan. 

“There’s an emotional component to learning; kids who feel good about themselves accomplish more in school,” she said. “It’s a small investment with long-term impact.”