Assemblyman Danielsen Brings Backpack Giveaway To Hillcrest School


State Assemblyman Joe Danielsen speaks to Hillcrest Elementary School students Sept. 8.

More than 100 Hillcrest Elementary School students received backpacks and school supplies Sept. 8, just in time for the start of the new school year.

The backpacks came courtesy of a program run by state Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-17), who solicited donations from businesses and organizations. Danielsen is distributing a total of 800 backpacks to schools in all five towns in his legislative district.

The Hillcrest School backpacks were distributed through a lottery system, in which students identified as being from families in need were entered.

The Hillcrest backpack program was supported by Franklin Township PBA Local 154, the township Fire Prevention office, the New Brunswick branch of Enterprise Rent-a-Car and the Chinese Christian Church on Hamilton Street.

Danielsen told a representative group of students gathered in the school’s multi-purpose room that they have the potential to achieve anything they wanted.

“Everything’s possible, and it all begins here in Franklin Township,” he said.

“Your principal, your teachers, the staff, all they want you to do is come here and learn to be respectful, healthy intelligent people, and have fun while you’re doing it,” Danielsen said. “And someday, you’ll be in my position maybe, to help out other people. Because that’s what it’s all about, helping other people.”

After the presentation, Danielsen said the backpacks and supplies can help the children do well in school.

“When a child receives something like this, they feel equipped,” he said. “And they feel, most importantly, like they’re just like all the other kids now. That is a major step in the success of a kid’s school year.”


Members of Franklin Township PBA Local 154 with Danielsen and Darren Russo, far right, Democratic candidate for Somerset County Sheriff.

Representatives of two of the program’s sponsors said their participation is a core part of their missions.

“We’re a huge part of the community,” said Matthew Edelman, branch manager for the New Brunswick office of Enterprise. “The community helps us, we help the community as much as we can.”

Jeffrey Whisman of the Chinese Christian Church said the church’s “mission as a church in the name Jesus Christ is to love our neighbor, and that’s part of it, so that’s what we’re doing.”

School principal Albert Fico said the students were excited about the prospect of getting the backpacks.

“They love these types of things,” he said. “We have a pretty high percentage of low-income families in this district, so they really benefit from the generosity that was shown today.”


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