An Annual Event Helps Provide School Supplies for Struggling Families

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Family, Queens, NY

by Katie Vasquez

A line formed around the block from Reaching Out Community Services, with parents and children holding their vouchers.

Families waited patiently for new backpacks and school supplies.

“We get school supplies that could really help us in our school year,” Juliana, a student who attends school in the neighborhood, said.

“Our old backpacks are too old and small for the new supplies,” Youana Nasif, another student who attended the school supply drive, said.

For 28 years, the organization has been helping out struggling families. This year they expect to help 600 children, but every year the demand grows.

“Everything costs more than the previous years and that’s why our inventory is less than it was years ago. More kids, less supplies,” said Tom Neve of Reaching Out Community Services.

Elic Cedillo along with his three siblings and mom waited for two hours in the rain for a chance to stock up.

The ninth grader said his family couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket.

“We needed them because for everyone, we’re having a big struggle for money and school supplies,” Elic said.

For parents in the neighborhood like Eunice Brown, the annual event is a big help that will save them at least $60.

“Everything is very expensive,” Brown said.

The nonprofit also runs a food pantry.

City Council member Justin Brannan contributed $116,000 on behalf of the City Council so they can keep their various services going.

“COVID may be in our rearview mirror but the demand is still very much there and it’s not just food. That’s also for school supplies, anything for families that are struggling,” Brannan said.

Now these students are ready to start the new school year.