Brooklyn is all aglow and snow has been falling. Suddenly, the holiday season is well underway, with Christmas around the corner.The merriment of the season cant be understated. Tree lightings have become a regular event, and wherever you look, there are festive decorations. With all the joyfulness of the season, it also has its serious side. There are so many people in Brooklyn who are in need, for whom the holidays often represent dreams that are likely go unfulfilled, for themselves and for their children. The Home Reporter and Spectator have just completed a toy and food drive, with donations sent to Reaching Out Community Services which operates a food pantry relied upon by 5,300 area residents, and which will distribute the toys at a holiday party for the families it serves. Their need doesnt end with the holiday season, however. If you missed the drive (or even if you didnt), Reaching Out still needs donations to help its clients. Go to www.rcsprograms.org to learn about what the organization does, and for further information about donating, so you can continue to spread the holiday spirit into the new year and beyond.BACK TO SCHOOL Theres good news for families in southwest Brooklyn. The Department of Education is planning to add nearly 7,400 new school seats in District 20, which encompasses Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and parts of Bensonhurst, Sunset Park and Boro Park. The district is one of the most overcrowded in the city, so the new seats 4,000 of which are already funded are critical to educators efforts to deliver for local kids.That said, there remain several challenges including allocating the funding for the remaining seats, finding sites to build new schools, and planning for the areas ongoing population growth, which doesnt seem to be slowing down, with families flocking to communities known for the quality of their schools.Education advocates are cautioning that, however difficult it may be, the promises that DOE has made to local families need to be fulfilled, and we join our voice to theirs in asking that the city position itself to accommodate the neighborhoods burgeoning population. The kids deserve nothing less.
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