Mall serving as center for school supply drive Big Brothers Big Sisters participants benefit from collection effort

Mall serving as center for school supply drive
Big Brothers Big Sisters
participants benefit from collection effort

EATONTOWN — For most children, back-to-school shopping is an excuse to buy cool new clothes, backpacks and binders. But for those less fortunate, it’s just one more thing to struggle with. That’s why the Monmouth Mall has teamed up with Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Monmouth County for "School Supply Drive 2001," which runs through Aug. 19.

School supplies and clothing gift certificates are being accepted at the mall’s customer service desk, near the food court.

"The purpose of the drive is to get the whole community involved in helping to make a difference," said Debi Heptig, executive director of BBBS.

As an incentive, all those who donate to the drive will be automatically entered into a drawing for a $200 mall shopping spree.

A special awards dinner will be held in the mall’s community room Aug. 24, during which children served by the organization will be presented with backpacks filled with back-to-school supplies. Additionally, children will be asked to sign a "commitment to education" contract, stating they will continually work hard to achieve and maintain good grades, according to Heptig.

"We are so excited to be involved in such an important event and are hoping that the community will join us so that these children can have the same opportunities that other kids have," said Susan Coulson, regional marketing manager for Monmouth Mall.

According to BBBS, items most needed are pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners, folders, notebook paper, three-ring binders, pens, markers, pencil cases and rulers.

Monmouth Mall, located at the intersection of Routes 35 and 36, has more than 150 shops — and three anchor department stores, Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Lord & Taylor. Mall hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

BBBS of Monmouth County is located on Main Street in Eatontown. Now in its 25th year, the nonprofit organization serves more than 200 children throughout the county.

"Additionally, 100 kids are on a waiting list and there are hundreds more deserving children in the county," Heptig said. "These children are primarily from one-parent homes. They need and want traditional adult companionship and friendship in their lives."

Heptig added that BBBS is always seeking single adults and married couples to volunteer their time as mentors. These mentors, she said, are usually asked to make a commitment to spend time with a child — either weekly or bi-weekly — for at least one year.

Each child and his or her mentor is assigned to a BBBS sponsor who offers support throughout the year. In addition, the group sponsors many recreational, educational and community service activities for the child/mentor team to participate in.

Anyone interested in volunteering should call (732) 544-2224.

— Nicole C. Vaccaro