Courtesy of Montana Checkoff
Montana Checkoff (‘21) is the president of Tools 4 Schools, a non-profit organization that is helping to provide necessary school supplies for kids in need. This organization is run by her whole family and was passed down to Montana. The organization began with her older sister, Lilly Checkoff (‘18), and her bat mitzvah project. The Checkoff family wanted to start something new, and in 2013 Tools 4 Schools was born.
“We just loved what we were doing and we felt so good about it,” said Montana, and henceforth Tools 4 Schools became an annual event. Montana and her younger brother AJ Checkoff (‘23) also involved Tools 4 Schools into their bar and bat mitzvah projects. Now that Lilly has gone off to college, Montana took over
her position; however, Lilly still helps out as much as she can.
In Tools 4 School’s first year, the organization packed about 100 backpacks, but now, 7 years later, they are packing about 1,600 bags for students. These bags are used to help a variety of different schools and organizations, including Park Lane Elementary, Boys and Girls Clubs of Atlantic City and Camden and the Foundation for Jewish Day Schools.
Throughout the school year, Tools 4 Schools raises money through corporate sponsors, fundraising and campaigns. During that time, Montana and the other board members spend about two to four hours each week making all of the essential calls to prospective new contributors and brainstorming new ways to make money. The months of July and August are spent buying all of the supplies for the backpacks, which are prepared for the final event. The final event is usually held during one of the last weeks in August in Margate City, NJ. The organization sets up an assembly line to pack backpacks, where they pack the bags with all of the brand new supplies and stack them into a van. They then distribute the supplies to students in need for the new school year. The Checkoff family has made Tools 4 Schools a part of East. After having two older siblings already graduate from East, and now with Montana and AJ as students, the family has received a lot of support from the East community. Many of the people who attend the final event are from East and a couple of students even help the organization out by spreading the word and helping to recruit sponsors.
Some of the Tools 4 Schools board are Montana’s friends and fellow students, who help create social media posts, go on conference calls and organize the materials. The East community continues to support the Checkoff family in their journey to provide students in need with school supplies that will allow them to succeed.