Reaching-Out Community Services has once again made back to school a little easier. With the help of six sponsors, the non-profit food pantry held its annual Big Backpack Giveaway on Thursday, August 27.
During the event, Reaching-Out distributed 500 backpacks along with school supplies such as notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons and folders.
“500 children is a lot,” said Tom Neve, executive director of Reaching-Out. “These are children that are pre-registered for the program so we know they’re financially disadvantaged. I think it’s great to help anybody, but this is not just to be good Samaritans. This is to make a difference in the time of a person’s need.”
Neve also expressed his gratitude to the event’s sponsors. “There are so many of them that have come together to make this happen because our budget could never do it. We have to focus on the food. And the sponsors helped us focus on this again and able to just give a helping hand to our neighbors in need.
One of the event’s sponsors in attendance was Investors Bank.
“When you work for an organization, part of its business part is to give back to the community and help it,” said Bensonhurst Branch Manager Constantine Arniotes. “It’s a credit to the corporate executives and a credit to people that work here. Everyone wants to give back. They have a great pantry. You want to invest in organizations like this that touch the community in so many different ways.”
Other sponsors included CPEX Real Estate Services, Fillmore Real Estate Brooklyn, John Manning Mortgage Broker, Project Hope NY and the Rotary Club of Verrazano.
Parents were grateful that the charitable organization came through yet again for families dealing with trying times. “Before when we had money, we always donated,” said mother Evalyn A. “The last couple of years we weren’t as fortunate and this the first time we’ve done this and it obviously takes the pressure off. For a long time, we actually needed it. We missed out on it, so I’m very grateful.”
Children were also excited to be able to go back to school in style. “We think that this is a really good thing to have children start the new year of school fresh with new supplies,” said student Sigalit Migirov. “[Reaching-Out] has very kind hearts to do this.”
“Of course they are very grateful for what we do for them in helping them in their time of need,” added Neve. “It’s hard enough putting food on the table. It’s very difficult. And now coming with a long list of school supplies becomes an even greater challenge because of the cost factor.”