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It's a freebie of a different kind

Politicians giving freebies to voters is not uncommon in the United States but this one takes the cake as the voluntary drive reaches the poor students and also there is no government funds involved.

world Updated: Jul 10, 2011 14:25 IST
Hindustan Times

Politicians giving freebies to voters is not uncommon in the United States but this one takes the cake as the voluntary drive reaches the poor students and also there is no government funds involved.

The idea is the brain child of Deputy Speaker of New Jersey State Assembly Upendra J Chivukula (Democrat), a native of Andhra Pradesh and highest ranking elected Indian-American lawmaker in the State of New Jersey, who is organising fourth annual backpack and school supply drive to aid poor families and to help students develop a strong academic foundation.

"As fall approaches families will soon be preparing for another school year for their children, but many will struggle to afford backpacks and school supplies. The drive will collect new backpacks filled with essential school supplies — such as pens, pencil cases, glue sticks and notebooks — donated from businesses, churches and individuals in Central New Jersey. The backpacks will then be distributed to the third-grade students," Chivukula said.

"In these times where money is hard to come by, providing for the education of our children is one of the most compelling long term goals that any community faces. By participating in the backpack drive businesses and charities can actively help us work towards realising our goal, " Chivukula said.

The program, which collected 85 backpacks in 2008, grew to 220 backpacks last year. Collection bins are kept in heavily Indian-American populated neighbourhoods such as Piscataway, North Brunswick and Milltown libraries in the Legislative District. "Education is the great equaliser in a global economy, programs like this enrich our community, and provides some of tools necessary for our children’s success.

It is vital for our community to aid children in need during these difficult economic times," Chivukula said. Chivukula who did his Electrical Engineering from the then Guindy Engineering College now Anna University in Chennai, has given priority to education in his campaigns.

First Published: Jul 10, 2011 14:22 IST