PATERSON, NJ – Some of Paterson’s future entrepreneurs are already well on the way to using their business acumen to support the community in a time of need. On Tuesday, Paterson Public Schools announced the launch of a student driven online fundraising campaign to benefit nursing home essential workers and local restaurants.

The brainchild of a group of students at the School of Business, Technology, Marketing and Finance (BT, MF) at the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex, all members of the school’s DECA chapter, the effort, “BTMF DECA Cares,” is collecting donations through a special webpage constructed with Square. Financial donations will be used to purchase and deliver meals to area health care workers.

“We are extremely proud of the initiative our students have taken to make a positive difference for people in our Paterson community,” said Superintendent of Schools Eileen F. Shafer. “The members of BTMF’s DECA chapter are living proof that a pandemic is no match for our students’ ingenuity and kindness. I want to thank them for developing a way that all of us can help those in need, and I want to acknowledge the work of their faculty advisor, principal and parents in supporting this terrific effort.”

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The students have set an initial goal of raising $1,000 to provide 100 health care workers with meals valued at $10 each. They have targeted a number of local nursing homes and restaurants, all within the Paterson city limits, as potential participants in the program. An outreach effort is underway to confirm restaurants’ ability to make deliveries and nursing homes’ abilities to receive food deliveries.

“We wanted to help the community during this tough time,” said Lorennys Garcia, the chapter’s vice president of hospitality and project lead for BTMF DECA Cares, who explained why the students chose to benefit nursing home essential workers.  “They are so important to us. They take of our grandparents. We wanted to show how much we appreciate them.”

The students have also developed a promotional campaign to raise awareness of the BTMF DECA Cares fundraiser that includes social media posts and a video explaining the fundraiser’s details.

Advised by teacher Martine Grant the DECA Chapter at BTMF, has achieved a great amount of statewide and national recognition during the past couple of years, including by having five students in the chapter qualify to compete in DECA’s national International Career Development Conference for the second consecutive year.

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