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The start of the school year can mean added stress for parents with limited means as they struggle to buy school supplies in addition to covering their everyday household expenses.

Through the generosity of donors to the annual Project First Class school supplies collection, children of families served by local agencies will get off to a good start in school next month.

Freeholder Patricia Walsh, liaison to the Somerset County Commission on the Status of Women, recently joined commission members in presenting hundreds of school supplies to the Food Bank Network of Somerset County and Feeding Hands Inc.

β€œTo everyone who took the time and spent the money to provide all of these backpacks, notebooks, paper, pens, pencils and other school supplies – a big thank you!” she said.

The impressive array of school items was donated by Somerset County employees and residents as well as by employees of the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey. Bridgewater Township and the Bridgewater Senior Center are collecting school supplies through Aug. 17.

Joining in the presentation to Food Bank Network Executive Director Marie Scannell and Feeding Hands Inc. Founder and Executive Director Lois Bennett were Freeholder Walsh, Project First Class Chair Stella Ayala, Commissioner Smriti Agrawal, and representatives of SCLSNJ.

Project First Class has been conducted by the commission annually since August 2005.