Putting my Shopping Skills to Good Use

Although it would have been a perfect day to hit the beach, I was happy to spend the morning in a crowded room full of eager and generous adults and exuberant children, as a volunteer at the NCJW Back 2 School Store in New Jersey.

The Back 2 School Store in Northern NJ

I wrote a column for AOL’s Patch.com on this terrific event back in 2010, explaining what happens on this special day every August. Rather than repeat myself, you can check it out here.

Now in its 4th year, the Store is run like a well-oiled machine, despite the organizational complexities of planning and executing the event. This year, the NCJW serviced more than 500 children. There are 300+  volunteers to coordinate and scores of jobs to assign, but I’ve rarely seen an army of helpers as excited and hungry to help.

It’s because the energy of the children is infectious. They’re so thrilled when they see the tables teeming with colorful backpacks, clothes, and supplies. They love admiring themselves in the mirror in their new outfits. I helped one 5 year-old boy today who loved his new sneakers so much he wore them out of the store, grinning like the Cheshire cat.

The three kids I led around the Store were so grateful for everything they received. It reminded me of how little it takes sometimes to make a child happy. I’ll take 500 smiling kids over the beach any day.

If you want more info on all the great work NCJW does, check out their website at http://www.ncjwessex.org/.

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