SOMERVILLE, NJ - The beginning of the school year is often stressful for parents with limited means as they struggle to buy school supplies and pay for everyday household expenses.

Thanks to residents that have donated to the annual Project First Class school supplies collection, children of families in need who are served by local agencies will start their first day of school with the appropriate school supplies just like their peers.

“Thank you to everyone who spent the money and the time to purchase and provide us with a wide array of backpacks, notebooks, paper, pens, pencils and other school supplies,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Patricia Walsh.

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Walsh and members of the Somerset County Commission on the Status of Women presented more than  one hundred items to Food Bank Network of Somerset County executive director Marie Scannell and Feeding Hands Inc. executive director and founder Lois Bennett.

Also present were commission Chair Janice M. Fields, Vice Chair Vaseem Firdaus, Commissioner Smriti Agrawal, and County Library Administrator Brian Auger.

The school items were donated by Somerset County employees, residents, and staff from the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey.

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 both the present and potential needs of women and to develop a greater public awareness of women’s issues.  For more information, contact the commission at