Caring for Clifton Families - Resources for Back to School and More


Do you remember the office supply store commercial with the dad buying school supplies and the song “The Most Wonderful Time of Year” as background music? For many families, it’s a time to wonder if they’ll be able to afford school supplies, new clothes, free preschool, or find aftercare for their school age children. Here are some local resources for families who could use a little support.

Backpack Donation Drives: There are several ongoing backpack donation drives, including one through Power of One, and one through Planet Fitness.

Planet Fitness has joined with Jersey Cares to collect new, unused school supplies such as: backpacks, lined notebooks, #2 pencils, pens, crayons, glue sticks, calculators, erasers, rulers, and other essential items through August 18th. Items can be brought to Planet Fitness locations throughout Passaic County. Clifton locations include 600 Getty Avenue and 1065 Bloomfield Avenue.

The Back2School Outreach is a program of Power Of One with the mission to provide underprivileged children with a free, quality backpack filled with school supplies for the new school year. They are asking residents to donate non-perishable food items (no glass containers) in addition to school supplies if possible. Items can be dropped off at a variety of Clifton locations, including the Recreation Department sites in City Hall and the one on Main Avenue, both Clifton libraries, Fire Stations #2 on Dumont Avenue, #4 on Main Avenue, and #5 on Brighton Road, as well as some local businesses.

The BACK2SCHOOL giveaway will be held at the Clifton Health Department Satellite Office, 207 Parker Avenue in Clifton on  August 25th and child(ren) must be present to receive supplies while they last.  Please register here.

Head Start: Head Start is a federal program that promotes school readiness of children from low-income families by providing a learning environment that supports children’s growth in basic skills, as well as physical, social, and emotional development in a safe, nurturing environment while respecting each family’s unique situation and needs. Schools include:

Clifton – Father Mychal Judge – 9:00 to 3:00

Clifton – School 4 – 9:00 to 3:00

Clifton – School 8 – 9:00 to 3:00

Clifton – School 12 – 9:00 to 3:00

Clifton – School 14 – 9:00 to 3:00

Clifton – School 17– 9:30 to 3:30

Clifton – Clifton Early Learner Academy – 9:00 to 3:00

Clifton – Clifton Early Learner Academy – Brighton – 9:00 to 3:00

The Center for Family Resources provides the EHS (Early Head Start) program for low-income children ages birth to three years. They are located at 745 Clifton Avenue; please call (973) 962-0055.

Food Assistance: Food insecurity is an ongoing issue and many families have difficulties putting together nutritious meals. The State can help through The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age 5 who are found to be at nutritional risk. New Jersey’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, NJ SNAP, provides food assistance to families with low incomes to help them buy groceries through a benefits card accepted in most food retail stores and some farmer's markets. Eligibility is set by several factors, such as income and resources. You can use SNAP benefits to stretch your food budget and buy nutritious foods that can keep you and your family healthy.

City Green offers Good Food Bucks, a nutrition incentive program that allows recipients of WIC and SNAP benefits to double the value of those dollars, allowing recipients to purchase twice as much local organic produce from City Green’s farm stands and Veggie Mobile locations as they could normally buy at the grocery store. For more on City Green, please see our article HERE. For the schedule of their farm stands and Veggie Mobile locations, please see HERE.

All eligible families with children enrolled in Clifton public schools are encouraged to apply for the Free & Reduced Lunch program through the Parent Portal. If approved, your child/ren will receive their school lunches at a reduced cost or at no cost to you. If you require any assistance or have any questions regarding the application process, please do not hesitate to contact the district's dedicated support team at 973-470-2275. They will be happy to help you through the process.

Food Pantries: Sometimes, these programs aren’t enough and residents from Clifton and the surrounding area can supplement with a visit to a soup pantry or soup kitchen. Pantries can provide packaged groceries that people come and pick up, while soup kitchens provide hot meals. In both cases, providers have scheduled times for pick-up or sitting down for meals, so it’s best to call ahead and set a time.

380 Clifton Ave
Clifton, NJ 07011
(973) 546-3406

Food Pantry
435 Main Street
Paterson, NJ
(973) 279-7100 ext: 2108

Food Pantry
163 Autumn St
Passaic, NJ
(862) 888-5525

Food Pantry
110 Main Ave
Passaic, NJ
(973) 777-7638 x 194

Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen
550 Main Ave
Passaic, NJ
(973) 779-1155 (pantry); (732) 208-8912 (soup kitchen)

Food Pantry
541-545 W. Broadway
Paterson, NJ
(973) 790-4817

Shelter and Soup Kitchen
393 Main St
Paterson, NJ
(973) 568-4644 (shelter); (973) 314-1358 (soup kitchen)

Soup Kitchen and Shelter
59 Mill Street
Paterson, NJ
(973) 881-8307 (soup kitchen); (973) 881-8307 (shelter)

Food Pantry
223 Ellison St.
Paterson, NJ
(973) 742-5518

There is also a Community Food Bank at the Botany Village Satellite Office once a month on Wednesdays. The Satellite Office is located at 207 Parker Avenue.

Many of the above places also have opportunities for volunteering, if you are interested in offering your time to these important community organizations. Donations are always welcome; see individual websites for details.

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