On Wednesday, 300 backpacks filled with school supplies and other basic essentials were handed out to East Brooklyn families to support students going back to school.

The backpacks, packed and distributed by volunteers from New York Cares, included scissors, markers, pencils, glue sticks, folders, pink erasers, and other school supply items. More than 900 new and gently used children’s books fromBrooklyn Book Bodega were also handed out.

The event was held by New York Cares in partnership with Bishop Hezekiah Walker and The Kingdom Church – Love Fellowship Tabernacle at the in East New York church.

Photo: Supplied.

New York Cares Executive Director Gary Bagley said the organization had been committed to supporting NYC public schools and students for more than 30 years. Since the organization’s COVID-19 relief efforts started in March 2020, it had trained 121,000 volunteers for virtual and on-the-ground programs and helped provide more than 44,000,000 meals for individuals and families experiencing food insecurity during the pandemic. 

“We actively stand with schools, students, and families — more than ever in areas within East Brooklyn that have been hit hardest by COVID-19,” Bagley said.

“Beyond backpacks and school supplies, we offer an array of year-round volunteer-based programs, including academic tutoring, college preparation, physical fitness, and social-emotional learning to help students return to fully in-person learning this fall.”

Wednesday’s volunteer program was part of New York Cares’ second annual Stand with Students campaign, which focuses on supporting communities in the South Bronx, Central Queens, and East Brooklyn who have historically faced food insecurity, educational inequity, marginalization, and social isolation, Bagley said.

Schools in Brooklyn that have recently received backpacks as part of the organization’s campaign include: CAMBA – PS 249 K – The Caton School, PS 557 K – Brooklyn Gardens Elementary School, and PS 196 K – The Williamsburg Bridge Magnet School.

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